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Westpac, one of Australia’s “Big Four” banks, is launching the first trial of anti-fraud measures designed to combat crypto-related fraud.
These safeguards aim to reduce losses from fraud in the hope of reducing potential risks.
Investment fraud accounts for approximately 50% of all fraud-related customer losses, according to the announcement, while about a third of all frauds involve direct transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges, making them extremely difficult to trace, according to data provided by Westpac.
The Westpac ban came on the same day that Binance customers were told they could no longer use PayID to transfer AUD to their Binance accounts. Binance stated that a “third-party provider” has placed restrictions on the exchange, which is currently affecting wire transfer withdrawals.
Although digital exchanges play a legitimate role in the financial ecosystem, the rise of digital currency has led to an increase in scams using foreign exchanges, according to Scott Collari, Westpac’s group leader of customer service and technology.
At the end of May, Westpac plans to gradually introduce a trial version of new cryptocurrency payment protection blocks. This trial is in addition to other recent initiatives such as Westpac Verify. This feature notifies customers of potential account name mismatches when making payments to a new State Bank (BSB) branch and an account number, or sending money to an account that Westpac has no previous transaction history with.
Related: Can you recover stolen bitcoin from a cryptocurrency scam?
Consumer advocacy group Choice reports that Australians have suffered over $129 million in losses due to cryptocurrency scams. In 2021 alone, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission received over 12,000 reports related to these scams.
Cryptocurrency investment scams show warning signs such as misleading social media ads, fraudulent websites, fake documents, and the use of spoofing software.
In addition, scammers may be in possession of undisclosed personal information or attempt to manipulate victims into acting during telephone conversations.