Westpac blocked 24,000 raudulent messages on payments

Before payments could be completed, Westpac’s zero-tolerance technology required 19,000 consumers to modify the language of their transaction description.

Westpac stated that it was able to stop approximately 24,000 transactions that were deemed abusive payments.

The bank also stated in its update to its environment, social, and governance plan that it required 19,000 clients to adjust the language they used in transaction descriptions before their payments could be approved and processed.

The bank also stated that it sent over 800 warning letters and account suspensions, as well as reported over 70 customers to authorities for abusive payments.

Earlier this year, the bank stated that it would not tolerate any statements containing abuse being provided in transaction descriptions. The bank considers swear words to be unacceptable, as well as threats of domestic violence.

“We want to create a safer digital banking experience for our customers and send a clear signal that abusive messages in payment transactions will not be tolerated,” Westpac general manager of customer solutions Lisa Pogonoski previously said.

To combat such behaviour, the red and black bank launched a new feature that allows clients to report abuse and harassment in the payment transaction description for inbound payments.

In addition, the bank used technology to monitor outbound payments transmitted through its online and mobile banking platforms, which automatically bans transactions containing unsuitable or obscene language.

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In other news, Westpac announced that it has completed 104 of 327 targeted activities for its Customer Outcomes and Risk Excellence (CORE) initiative, which aims to improve the bank’s risk management and governance. These included changing its transaction screen software and settings, identifying data points and developing automated reconciliations and checks, utilising analytics to increase detection, and improving risk reporting via a new insights platform.

Westpac reported that tech expenses climbed by AU$40 million in the first half of the fiscal year 2022, with a portion of the increase attributed to the CORE initiative. This was due to an increase in profit of AU$3.4 billion.

  • The National Sexual Assault and Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service can be reached at 1800 737 732.
  • MensLine Australia can be reached at 1300 789 978.
  • Call the Lifeline at 13 11 14 if you are in need of assistance.
  • Call the Kids Helpline at 1800 551 800.
  • Beyond Blue can be reached at 1300 22 46 36.
  • Headspace can be reached at 1800 650 890.
  • Always dial 000 in an emergency or if you are not feeling safe.
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