Anti-scam plan keeps everyone in the loop

Woman scammed. | Newsreel
A new anti-scam intelligence loop has been established. | Photo: Fizkes (iStock)

A new anti-scam intelligence loop has been established to facilitate better exchange of intel between government agencies, banks, telecommunications companies and digital platforms.

Co-designed by the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) and National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), the intel loop means information on scams can be more easily shared.

Federal Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones said the loop enabled near real-time data sharing between participants about the latest tactics and tools used by scammers.

Minister Jones said the partnership would increase the capacity to disrupt and intercept scammer contact with victims and help identify and take down scammer websites.

“The NASC will share and receive intel such as scam phone numbers, URLs, and bank accounts that are core tools scammers use to ply their act. This means that whether a person reports a scam to a bank, a telco or to Scamwatch, we can use the intel loop to stop this scam from harming more Australians,” he said.

Commonwealth Bank General Manager Group Fraud James Roberts said organisations that integrated into the loop would be able to quickly share verified information with other participants, so that phone numbers and URLs used by scammers for calls and SMSs can be blocked, and fake websites, social media advertisements and posts taken down.

Mr Roberts said information sharing between participants would be increased in phases, with an initial focus on reducing the number of SMS phishing scams.

“Since integrating, CBA has submitted over 1200 entries into the loop containing scam phone numbers and dodgy URLs,” he said.

“As the first bank to integrate into AFCX’s intel loop, CBA is committing to sharing across industries the intelligence we collect, to help bolster the nation’s response.”

The increased cross-industry collaboration comes as Westpac introduced a new security feature for customers which provided an up-front risk indicator.

Westpac Head of Fraud Prevention Ben Young said a new Westpac Verify feature would alert customers when there was a potential account name mismatch when adding a new payee using a BSB and account number.

Mr Young said it would also warn customers when Westpac had not made a payment to the account before.

“The alert will prompt customers to review payee details, helping to stop scams and mistaken payments,” he said.