NAB to ban these payments: ‘Make it as hard as possible’

NAB joins CBA, Westpac and ANZ in blocking certain cryptocurrency payments.

NAB will block certain payments to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges in an effort to reduce scam losses.

Nearly half of scam funds reported to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange were linked to cryptocurrency in a recent 30-day period, according to the major bank.

Scammers will often use cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin or ether, because they are harder to track.

Cryptocurrency scams were one of the fastest-growing security threats, the major bank said, with Aussies losing more than $221 million to them last year.

“These scammers are part of organised, transnational crime groups. Increasingly, we’re seeing them use cryptocurrency platforms to send stolen funds quickly and often overseas,” NAB executive group investigations and fraud Chris Sheehan said.

“We want to make it as hard as possible for these criminals and reduce the impact on our customers.”

In the past few months, all of the Big Four banks – CBA, Westpac, NAB and ANZ – have announced they will be blocking payments to certain cryptocurrency platforms.

$270 million in payments stopped

NAB said it stopped more than $270 million worth of customer payments, which raised scam concerns between March and July this year.

The bank has introduced several measures in the past six months to crack down on scams, including payment prompts and stopping the use of links in “unexpected” text messages from the bank.

“The payment prompts feature a checklist based on uncharacteristic activity designed to get the customer to pause and review the payment prior to hitting send,” Sheehan said.

“While many customers ultimately complete their payment after receiving a prompt, we’re seeing around $290,000 worth of payments abandoned daily. This tells us that customers are taking the time to stop and think before they make a payment.”

NAB found four in 10 customers were “extremely willing” for payments to be slower if they were better protected from scammers.

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