Bank’s auto scam blocking plan to save Australians $120m

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Thousands of Australians are set to save $120 million a year under a new banking system designed to stop online purchases from dodgy overseas sellers.

Starting Monday, Westpac said its customers will automatically have credit and debit card transactions to foreign retailers blocked if a scam is detected.

They will be informed of the intervention by SMS but can contact the bank if they think the purchase is legitimate and want the transaction to continue.

When the real-time system was tested last year, customers who received the scam alert did not proceed with the purchase in more than 99% of cases.

The initial trial, which involved selected online stores with dubious marketing claims, including diet pill retailers, blocked more than 11,000 potential scams for 4,000 customers, saving more than $1.2 million.

Westpac’s Chris de Bruin said online shopping scams were on the rise and more overseas retailers were targeting Australians with false advertising.

“In the past two months, we’ve saved 69,000 customers from losing over $6 million through our scam blocks, with customers saving an average of $87,” he said in a statement.

“By extending this to more merchants, our modeling predicts that we will prevent an additional 2,000 customers every day from losing an estimated $120 million per year to dodgy overseas retailers.”

Under this system, blocked traders are exclusively registered overseas and most often sell diet pills, nutritional supplements, online dating subscriptions, music subscriptions or support services. to businesses.

“We want to help put an end to online scams by blocking retailers who may misrepresent what they are selling or trick Australians into handing them money for products they will never receive,” the official said. of Westpac fraud, Ben Young.

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