More scam protection for customers with the launch of 'Westpac Verify'
5 March 2023
Westpac is launching a new layer of security to help protect customers from potential scams.
Westpac Verify will alert customers if there is a potential account name mis-match for payments to a new BSB and account number via the New Payments Platform (NPP). The alert will also apply when a customer transfers money to an account Westpac has never transacted with before.
In these instances, the payment will be put on hold for four hours and customers will receive an SMS prompting them to review the transfer.
Westpac Chief Executive of Consumer & Business Banking, Chris de Bruin, says the new measure has been introduced as scams continue to grow at an unprecedented rate.
“Our latest customer scam data revealed customer losses reached a new record high in December, doubling from the year prior,” Mr de Bruin said.
“The majority of scam-related transactions happen when a customer is tricked into transferring their money to a scammer via online or mobile banking. They may think they’re sending money to a legitimate business, individual, or bank account they’ve been told has been set up in their name, but they’re not.
“Westpac will now pause some payments and give customers an opportunity to check if the recipient details are correct before proceeding with a transaction, adding another layer in the net to catch potential scams.
“This may also help reduce cases of mistaken payments, where money is sent to an unintended recipient by accidentally entering incorrect BSB or account numbers.
“We continue to urge customers to use PayID, which provides even more protection.”
How it will work
- Westpac Verify will alert customers to potential scams, including when there is a potential account name mismatch in NPP payments to a new BSB and account number or when money is being sent to an account a Westpac customer has never transacted with before.
- Customers will receive an SMS advising the payment has been paused for four hours and to check if details are correct. If something doesn’t look right, customers should contact us immediately to change or cancel the payment.
- If no action is taken by the customer, the payment will proceed after four hours.
Testing of the new feature is underway and will be progressively rolled-out to customers over the next month.
“If customers receive a text message from us, we urge them to check the payment details immediately. This includes contacting a business or individual on a trusted number to ensure details are legitimate,” Mr de Bruin added.
“If everything looks to be correct, they don’t need to do anything and we will allow the transaction to proceed after four hours. If something doesn’t look right, they should contact us straight away."
Common scams targeting Australians:
- Business email compromise scams. These occur when fraudsters intercept emails to issue fake invoices. Call a business on a trusted number to check if payment details are correct and always use PayID to ensure funds are being sent to a legitimate account.
- Investment scams. Scammers pose as bankers, stockbrokers, financial planners, or other professionals to offer fake ‘high return / low risk’ investment opportunities. Always conduct independent research before making any investment decision, seek expert advice and be wary of offers that appear ‘too good to be true’.
- Bank scams. Scammers will impersonate known businesses, including banks, to trick you into sharing personal information or send money to another account. Calls are often unsolicited and will appear urgent in nature. They may also use spoofing software to impersonate a known phone number. If you are unsure, hang up and call back on a trusted number.
Important protection tips for customers:
- Westpac will never ask you to transfer money to another bank account to keep your money ‘safe’.
- Westpac will never set up a bank account on your behalf and under your name with a different bank.
- Westpac will always display the name of the recipient bank when the BSB number is entered for a new payee in online and mobile banking.
- Westpac will never ask you to share payment authentication codes to make a purchase on your behalf.
- Use PayID, which links payee details to a registered ABN, email or mobile number, to ensure funds are being sent to an intended recipient.
- Customers should ensure their contact information is up-to-date in online and mobile banking to receive important updates from Westpac.