Westpac launches new anti-scam security

Customer protections to be rolled out in April

Westpac launches new anti-scam security



Westpac has introduced a new security feature called Westpac Verify to help protect its customers from scams.

The new feature will notify customers if there is a potential account name mismatch for payments made to a new BSB and account number through the New Payments Platform (NPP). Customers will also receive an alert if they transfer money to an account that Westpac has not previously transacted with.

In both instances, the payment will be paused for four hours, and customers will receive an SMS prompting them to review the transfer.

Chris de Bruin (pictured above), Westpac's chief executive of consumer and business banking, said the new security measure was a response to the unprecedented rise in scams seen in the bank’s latest customer scam data, which revealed a new record high in customer losses in December, double from the previous year.

“The majority of scam-related transactions happen when a customer is tricked into transferring their money to a scammer via online or mobile banking,” de Bruin said. “They may think they’re sending money to a legitimate business, individual, or bank account they’ve been told has been set up in their name, but they’re not.

De Bruin said Westpac will now pause some payments and give customers an opportunity to check if the recipient details are correct before proceeding with a transaction, adding another layer in the net to catch potential scams.

Westpac Verify is also designed to help reduce cases of mistaken payments, where money is sent to an unintended recipient by accidentally entering incorrect BSB or account numbers.

With the new feature, customers who receive an SMS from Westpac are urged to check the payment details immediately and contact a business or individual on a trusted number to ensure details are legitimate.

If all the details appear to be correct, de Bruin said customers do not need to do anything, and their transaction will proceed after four hours. However, if something doesn't look right, customers are told to contact Westpac straight away.

Westpac Verify is currently being tested and will be progressively rolled-out to customers over the next month.

Westpac has also advised its customers to use PayID to provide even more protection, which links payee details to a registered ABN, email, or mobile number to ensure that funds are being sent to an intended recipient. Additionally, the bank shared some important protection tips for customers, such as ensuring that their contact information is up to date in both online and mobile banking channels to receive important updates from Westpac.

Common scams targeting Australians include business email compromise scams, where emails are intercepted by scammers to issue fake invoices, as well as investment scams, where scammers pose as bankers, stockbrokers, or professional planners to fake investment opportunities.

Another type are bank scams, where fraudsters impersonate banks and other known businesses to trick people into sharing personal information or send money to another account.

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