When Westpac customers make an online card payment and a scam is detected, the transaction will be automatically blocked and a text message will be sent to the customer.
If the customer believes the payment is legitimate, they can contact the bank’s scam assistance team to have the payment proceed.
The bank said so far in over 99 per cent of cases customers have chosen not to proceed with the transaction after getting the scam alert.
Westpac said it trialed the system last year, during which more than 11,000 potential scams were blocked saving more than $1.2 million.
“Online shopping scams are on the rise and we’re seeing more overseas retailers targeting Australians with false advertising for popular products like diet pills, supplements, dating subscriptions and business services,” said Chris de Bruin, Westpac Chief Executive Consumer & Business Banking.
“With our research showing these scams are costing Australians hundreds of millions each year, we’re ramping-up our investment in technologies which will help detect scams and prevent customers getting swindled.
“Over the past two months, we have stopped 69,000 customers losing more than $6 million through our scam blocks with customers saving an average of $87.”
The technology works by analysing a customer’s transaction patterns and monitoring the attributes of overseas merchants. If a payment is seen to be out-of-the-ordinary – or is for a fake product, it will be blocked.
“We want to help put a stop to online scams by blocking retailers who may be misrepresenting what they’re selling or duping Aussies into handing over money for products they’ll never receive,” said Westpac Head of Fraud, Ben Young.
“The technology adds another layer of security for our customers shopping online and intervenes when they are making a purchase with a suspect retailer.
“The new capability builds on our existing 24/7 fraud detection systems which focus on preventing transactions on stolen or copied cards.
“We encourage customers to remain vigilant when shopping online. If a customer believes they have been the victim of a scam they should call us as soon as possible. We have a specialist team of staff trained to assist customers impacted by scams.”
Westpac’s crack down on scam payments is the latest in a string of big corporations choosing to proactively protect customers from cybercrime.