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Banks, telcos and tech companies should collaborate more closely on combatting fraud, the assistant treasurer has said, as the Commonwealth Bank announced an expansion of its anti-scam technology to tackle what’s become a $3 billion nationwide problem.
CBA on Thursday detailed two types of technology it is deploying to combat scammers: Scam Indicator, which it built with Telstra and uses algorithms to identify potential scam phone calls, and NameCheck, which verifies account details for customers before they pay someone.
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Mat Comyn.Credit: Sydney Morning Herald
The technology is now live for customers following pilot programs, and CBA chief executive Matt Comyn said they formed part of a “whole-of-ecosystem” national approach to combat increasingly complex fraud and scams.
NameCheck was introduced this year and Comyn said it had already helped prevent more than 10,000 scam payments that would have totalled more than $38 million. The bank is now offering the technology to other organisations that process payments.
Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones, who visited CBA’s Sydney offices on Thursday, said consumer fraud and scams cost Australians some $3 billion a year – a figure that grows annually by 80 per cent.
Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones.Credit: Nine
“Every one of those dollars has attached to it a human tragedy. It’s one dollar that they couldn’t afford to lose,” he said.
“We are going to bring that down. We take an ecosystem approach, which is one that understands that scams are coming to people through telecommunications networks, through social media platforms, and they’re preying on people and tricking them into handing over their information and their money. Once that money has been handed over, it’s almost impossible to get back.
“So the most effective response to this is looking at as an ecosystem, and getting everyone in the ecosystem working together.”
Comyn said that while losses from cryptocurrency scams were down by about 70 per cent following recent changes to how the bank handled crypto payments, scams perpetuated using artificial intelligence technology posed a growing threat.
AI experts have warned that even a few seconds of social media content are all that a scammer needs to recreate a person’s voice.
“Impersonation scams are continuing to grow with rapid sophistication, and we’ve clearly got an environment where the threats and risks will continue to grow over time,” Comyn said. “Hence why it’s so important to work collaboratively across multiple industries.
“I do think ultimately that participating through something like the anti-scam centre to be able to have trusted people within industries working together to take down and limit scams, and recover customer losses where possible, will hopefully over time make this jurisdiction less attractive to scammers.”
Comyn would not be drawn on news from Thursday that Australian Federal Police arrested seven people and seized $50 million worth of luxury cars and property, in what has been dubbed the most complex AFP-led money-laundering investigation in the nation’s history.
The Changjiang Currency Exchange is accused of laundering almost $229 million in the proceeds of crime in the past three years.
“I mean, I’ve been aware of it for some time,” Comyn said. “We’ve been working with law enforcement for an extended period of time and co-operating, and so I was aware of the announcement that was coming today, but I haven’t got any further reflections or information to provide beyond what’s already been publicly disclosed.”
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