The competition tsar has called on major banks to update their processes to stop customers from transferring money to fraudsters, after an industry body accused the sector of ‘victim blaming’ to avoid responsibility for scam losses.

Australian banks do not block transactions where the name listed by the sender does not match the account details of the recipient. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims said Australians were losing $2 billion a year to scams, which is “rapidly rising”.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says banks must do more to stop fraud.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“We do think this is an important issue confirming who the payee is,” Mr Sims said. “Some banks say there are other things coming along which will fix the problem. I’d be asking the banks, if you have an alternative, how far away is it?”

The UK payments regulator introduced new rules last year that force banks to name-check transactions and issue notifications if there is a mismatch. Australian Institute of Conveyancers national secretary Dion Dosualdo said this was designed to reduce fraud, and the Australian banking sector’s refusal to implement a similar system meant it was complicit.

“The fact there is no dual verification there means the banks can wash their hands of the situation,” Mr Dosualdo said. “This is what the scammers are cashing in on.”


The ACCC sent a letter to the Australian Securities Investments Commission (ASIC) in February last…

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