Scam victims turn to crowdfunding as banks face calls to action

His recent memoir to the Federal Government states: ‘There are examples of codes in the UK which provide greater protection for victims of scams and better prevention of scams in the financial sector.’

A Victorian pensioner, who did not want his name published, said The Sydney Morning Herald and age he had lost nearly $20,000 in a computer scam and his bank was only able to return half the money as a “goodwill gesture”.

Patrick Veyret, consumer advocate for CHOICE, said banks have an important role to play in preventing loss to victims of scammers, especially through bank transfers.

“Implementing Payee Confirmation (CoP) technology and adopting an industry-wide code of practice are two things they could do right now that would reduce harm to consumers and would make scams less profitable,” Veyret said.

CHOICE said the adoption of the CoP by the UK’s six largest banks in 2019 resulted in a 35% drop in the value of misdirected payments to scammers and other unwitting recipients. The measures also included conditional reimbursement to victims of fraud who had not been negligent in transferring funds to the crooks.


Consumer Action Law Center chief executive Gerard Brody has called for the UK approach to be adopted in Australia.

“We call on the federal government to put in place mandatory rules, either through legislation or regulation, with respect to these obligations,” he said.

“People may assume that banks verify because they often ask you to enter the account name, but they don’t actually do any sort of confirmation check to make sure the account numbers you enter are linked. to this account name,” he said.

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) said overseas industry codes limited to banks had failed to significantly reduce the impact of scams. The ABA supports a broader strategy across all sectors, including online shopping platforms, telecommunications providers, governments and law enforcement.

“The ABA recommends that any proposed regulation in Australia ensure that all sectors are part of the solution rather than regulating just one sector,” an ABA spokesperson said.

Westpac, NAB and CBA said they have systems in place to try to prevent scams and recover money for customers where possible. Reimbursement of lost money was considered on a case-by-case basis where fraud was not permitted.

Chris Sheehan, who heads NAB’s investigations and fraud portfolio, said once funds left a victim’s account, it was often difficult to recover them.

“We are watching developments in the UK and other countries closely…it is clear from the evidence that stand-alone reimbursement schemes will not solve the complex scam challenges we face in Australia,” he said. declared.

“We have to come to grips with the problem, which is to stop the crime. This requires a comprehensive public and private sector response spanning different business sectors, including telecom operators, social media companies and banks, to keep our community safe to resolve the issue. No sector or organization can stop this – there is no silver bullet. »

The ACCC’s Scamwatch reported nearly $1.8 billion in losses from scams last year, but estimates the real figure, including those that go unreported, is over $2 billion.

Ten tips to avoid scams:

  • Enable two-factor authentication on your accounts.
  • Beware of deals that seem too good to be true and check out independent reviews from the sellers or the site you are using.
  • When buying online, make sure the website URL starts with “https”, has the padlock icon in the address bar, and has a trust seal.
  • Think carefully before clicking on any link in an email or text message as it may contain malware or be a phishing link to collect your personal information. Even if the text message appears in the same thread as other texts from a legitimate organization, it may still be a scam.
  • Beware of cold calls from people claiming to be a service provider, such as your telephone or Internet service provider. You can always hang up the phone and call the company back on a phone number you have for them. 6 Keep your passwords safe and do not share passwords, bank PINs or SMS verification codes with anyone.
  • Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation, communication, marriage treatment, or medical expenses for an online boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Pay attention to common spelling, grammatical or language errors in emails, text messages or website addresses – they could well suggest a scam.
  • Never make your tax file number publicly available, such as on your resume.
  • If you’re not sure the person on the other end of the line is legitimate, hang up and call the organization on their official contact number.

Source: CHOICE

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