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Westpac makes online shopping safer with new scam blocks

In an effort to stamp out scam purchases and protect customers, Westpac has announced that it has begun automatically blocking suspect online transactions from overseas retailers deemed high-risk of being a scam.

When a customer makes an online card payment and a scam is discovered, the transaction is automatically blocked, and the customer is notified via SMS. If a customer believes the payment is legitimate, they can request the payment proceeds by contacting Westpac’s dedicated scam assistance team.

In over 99 per cent of cases, customers did not proceed with the transaction after getting the scam alert.

Westpac trialled the real-time scam blocks last year with select online stores with dubious marketing claims, focusing on diet pill retailers. During this time, more than 11,000 potential scams were blocked for 4,000 customers, saving more than $1.2 million. Since January 2022, the blocks have been rolled-out to more online merchants, saving customers an additional $6 million, as the bank continues to scale-up its scam and fraud protection mechanisms.

“Online shopping scams are on the rise and we’re seeing more overseas retailers targeting Australians with false advertising for popular products like diet pills, supplements, dating subscriptions and business services,” said Chris de Bruin, Westpac Chief Executive Consumer & Business Banking.

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