ANZ intensifies fight against scams

The bank deploys new algorithms, invests in AI

ANZ intensifies fight against scams


By Mina Martin

ANZ has rolled out several new measures to keep customers and the community safe against an “insidious” problem – scams.

The bank said the most rampant scams involve third parties gaining remote access to customers’ computers and devices, followed closely by investment, romance and inheritance scams. Just last year, ACCC’s Scamwatch received reports of nearly 240,000 scams.

In response to the growing sophistication of scams, ANZ deployed more than 170 new algorithms and invested in new capability using AI and machine learning technology, called “mule accounts,” as part of its ongoing effort to combat scams and other financial crimes. 

The bank said it is also preventing payments being made to particular high-risk cryptocurrency platforms and introducing new holds and delays to some payment types and destinations.

Another measure involves activating the Do Not Originate (DNO) service and preventing scammers from adopting the “ANZ” label in text messages, to prevent the so-called SMS spoofing, where scammers purport to be sending an SMS from a legitimate organisation.

Shaq Johnson (pictured above), ANZ head of customer protection, said the bank’s investment in new technologies is critical in its campaign against fraud and scams.

“We are constantly reviewing and evolving our prevention and detection security settings as new scams emerge and scammers change how they operate,” Johnson said. “The threat of scammers is not new. Our advancements mean we are better placed to keep our customers safe from the threat of scams.

“The challenge is that as soon as we close one avenue, the scammers quickly move to try and open another. We continue to invest millions of dollars in new technology. As a result, over the last nine months, we’ve prevented $61 million from going to cyber criminals.”

The new measures were in addition to capabilities introduced in the last 12 months, including the progressive rollout of biometrics capabilities allowing ANZ to identify anomalies in usual payment processes and account opening, the identification of compromised credentials through routine and regular dark web scanning, the removal of approximately 150 phishing sites per month, and the adoption of the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange’s (AFCX) Fraud Reporting Exchange (FRX) platform.

“There is a whole-of-community response needed to scam prevention, and while banks play a critical role, customers need to protect themselves, and be extremely vigilant and suspicious of unsolicited contact,” Johnson said.

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