Westpac to automatically block fraudulent purchases – Finance – Security

Westpac has implemented new automatic transaction security measures to prevent its customers from falling for online fraud.

After a successful trial launched last year, the National Bank will now automatically stop transactions made via online card payments it deems fraudulent and warn customers via SMS.

It works for customers making purchases using their Westpac credit or debit card and third party mobile wallets.

The bank says its detection technology can identify transaction patterns, merchant behavior and characteristics, and past customer reports to add and remove merchants from its high-risk lists.

Westpac only blocks registered foreign merchants, most commonly selling diet pills, nutritional supplements, online dating and music subscriptions, or business support services.

Chris de Bruin, Westpac’s Chief Executive Consumer and Business Banking, said the bank is seeing “more foreign retailers targeting Australians with false advertising of popular products such as diet pills, nutritional supplements, dating subscriptions and business services”.

“In the last two months, we’ve prevented 69,000 customers from losing more than $6 million through our fraud blocks, with customers saving an average of $87,” said de Bruin.

“By expanding this to more retailers, our models predict we will stop an additional 2,000 customers each day from losing an estimated $120 million annually to dodgy overseas retailers,” de Bruin said

Westpac first tested its real-time fraud blocker last year by targeting online stores making unsubstantiated marketing claims, with a focus on diet pill retailers.

During the trial, Westpac blocked more than 11,000 potential scams for 4,000 customers and saved more than $1.2 million.

Since January of this year, blocks have been expanded to include more online retailers, saving customers around $6 million.

Westpac’s fraud chief Ben Young said the bank wanted to “stop online fraud” by preventing misleading retailers from “selling or tricking Aussies into handing over money for products they will never receive”.

“The technology adds another layer of security for our customers when shopping online and intervenes if they are shopping from a suspicious retailer.

“The new feature builds on our existing 24/7 fraud detection systems, which focus on preventing transactions involving stolen or duplicated cards.

“As scams become more sophisticated, banks are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to detecting them, and we want scammers to know that we are monitoring our customers and taking steps to protect them,” Young said.

Customers can contact Westpac if they still want to proceed with the payment, but the bank has so far found that 99 percent of cases do not complete the purchase. Westpac to automatically block fraudulent purchases – Finance – Security

Jessica MacLeish

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