Original media release by CALC (24/11/2023).
Consumer Action Law Centre has welcomed the scams safe accord announced by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) which has involved, for the first time, member banks joining forces and agreeing on key steps to enhance scams protections for Australian banking customers.
“We are pleased to hear that the banking industry is working together to implement meaningful safeguards in the fight against scams. These steps are long overdue – together with our clients we have been calling for these types of preventative measures for years,” said Consumer Action CEO Stephanie Tonkin.
“These protections would have prevented many of the life changing losses our clients have suffered.
“The critical next step must be for the Government to introduce mandatory reimbursement of customers’ money still lost to scams. There needs to be a clear, high standard of care that banks are required to meet at law, and if they fail to do so, the bank should foot the bill.”
Ms Tonkin said the fact the banking industry is making broad coordinated steps is significant.
“These steps by the banking industry will make a meaningful difference to scam prevention. However, the expertise of the scammers is constantly evolving, and industry must remain vigilant, as these safeguards are developed and rolled out,” said Ms Tonkin.
The plan outlined by the banking sector includes significant safeguards that should make it harder for scammers to access money in Australian bank accounts.
The most significant aspect of the change is the commitment to roll out confirmation of payee technology across the whole banking industry over the next two years, which will alert customers when the intended recipient name does not match the account details entered.
The other aspects of the announcement include:
- making it harder for scammers to set-up and use fraudulent accounts;
- increased intel and data sharing across the industry;
- limits on transfers to high-risk channels such as certain cryptocurrency platforms; and
- the introduction of ‘friction’ delays and warnings for some payments.
Ms Tonkin also said that other sectors must follow the banking sector’s lead and invest in effective preventative measures. “Similar high standards also need to be mandated across all other industries whose systems are exploited by scammers, including telcos, digital platforms and cryptocurrency exchanges.”