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Australian Banking Association launches ‘new offensive in the war on scams’

The ABA joins with community banks to tackle scams and put scammers out of business with Scam-safe Accord.

Australian Banking Association launches ‘new offensive in the war on scams’
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The Australian Banking Association (ABA) and Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) have joined forces on a new anti-scam measure, the Scam-safe Accord.

The accord will see both the big commercial banks form ranks with smaller community banks and building societies to create a set of industry-wide anti-scam measures.

Chief among them is a $100 million investment in a new payee confirmation system to be rolled out across the entire sector. The system will roll out over 2024 and 2025 and is designed to protect the $2.5 trillion worth of transactions Australians make every year.

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“This Scam-Safe Accord is a new offensive in the war on scams,” said ABA chief executive Anna Bligh in a statement. “It reflects the banking sector’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding every Australian. It outlines the actions every bank will take to protect Australian consumers and small businesses and to harden the system against scams.”

COBA CEO Mike Lawrence feels similarly and that Australians should have the same protections in place no matter where they do their banking.

“The initiatives we launch today are a significant step forward and demonstrate the banking industry’s commitment to fight scams,” Lawrence said. “It doesn’t matter if someone banks with a regional mutual bank or the largest bank in the country, customers can be confident their bank is working hard to protect their money.”

The Scam-safe Accord also boasts an increase in intelligence sharing across the sector, with all financial institutions expected to be acting on intelligence provided by the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange by middle of next year. In addition, all banks will be expected to join the Fraud Reporting Exchange.

“Recent data from banks shows that $600 million in stolen funds have been returned to customers over the last year. To keep up this effort, it is critical that government, banks, telcos, social media and crypto platforms work together as part of an ecosystem to stay one step ahead of sophisticated criminal gangs,” Bligh said.

The accord is also built around three guiding principles – disrupting scams before they happen, detecting them when they are in circulation, and responding quickly when a customer falls victim.

“Preventing scammers from taking the hard-earned money of everyday Australians is a shared responsibility,” Lawrence said.

“As scammers work hard to devise new ways to steal money, it’s critical that governments, industry and consumers remain vigilant to make Australia a hard target for scammers.”

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