Westpac ramps up fight against scams as cases spike

Westpac has released new scam support and prevention measures as it warns customers to be extra vigilant after a recent spike in activity.

According to new Westpac data, reported scams rose 33% in July from the year prior as fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect, with impersonation scams among the most common scams currently targeting customers.

To combat these scams, Westpac has worked with Optus to stop scammers from being able to use call spoofing software and impersonate calls using Westpac’s number. T. are currently more than 94,000 Westpac phone numbers that have been added to a “Do Not Originate” list, which will prevent scammers from impersonating the bank’s numbers. The list is also shared with other carriers to extend the protection across different networks.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in cases w. scammers are using software to mask their phone number with the number of a known business,” said Ben Young, Westpac head of fraud. This is a commonly employed tactic in impersonation scams known as ‘call spoofing.’”

Call spoofing scams are “incredibly challenging to detect,” Young said, because these calls appear to come from Westpac, when in fact, it’s from a scammer posing as a member of the bank’s fraud team calling from a completely different number.

“The scammer will then use personal .rmation they’ve fraudulently obtained, like quoting the customer’s name or last few digits of their credit card, to convince them the call is genuine,” he said.

“Scams are a plague on many hard-working Australians,” said Stuart Pritchard, vice president of strategic accounts and government, enterprise, and business at Optus. “Optus is pleased to work closely with Westpac to offer a solution that will enable it to become a leader in the financial industry in regard to better protecting their customers from scam calls.”

In response to the ongoing spike in scam activity, Westpac is taking additional steps to support customers over the coming months, including increasing scam specialists by 50% and launching new digital chat capabilities to enable branch staff to connect directly with Westpac’s scam team.

“We urge Australians to remain cautious of any unexpected phone calls, text messages, or .s from a known business and always consider what they’re asking you to do,” Young said. “If ever in doubt, hang up, and call back on a publicly listed number to ensure the call is genuine. We want customers to know that support is available if they need it. If you think you may have been scammed, it’s important you . your bank immediately. The sooner you act, the better chance we have at reducing the impact of that scam.”

Westpac also released an audio recording of a failed scam. Click . to access.

To report a scam or to seek assistance, customers can . the bank at 132 032 or via the Westpac app.