Customers abandon more than $100m in possible scam payments

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  • Customer scam reports increase, but losses decrease for two straight quarters
  • Bank initiatives focus on increasing ability to prevent suspicious payments
  • New ads highlight the split second when a scam can occur

NAB’s payment alerts have seen customers abandon more than $100 million in payments in the 15 months since the initiative was introduced to digital banking, new insights reveal.

The alerts target invoice, investment, romance, and goods and services scams in the NAB app and internet banking.

Customers may receive an alert if a payment appears out of character for them or raises scam concerns and are designed to encourage them to stop and check.

Photo of hand holding a mobile phone with a payment alert.
An example of a NAB payment alert. First introduced in March 2023, customers have abandoned more than $100m in payments linked to potential scams.

 

The insights come as NAB launches the latest version of its ‘Red Flags’ campaign on social media, online channels and outdoor billboards highlighting the moment a customer reconsiders a payment after receiving a payment alert as they prepare to pay an invoice.

NAB Executive Group Investigations Chris Sheehan said recognising the red flags of scams was critical to stopping the crime.

“Scams are a global epidemic. We have to make Australia a harder place for these criminals to be successful,” Mr Sheehan said.

“Stopping the crime before it happens is the only way we can stop scammers targeting Australians.

Man on a couch, phone in hand, while a hand with a red flag pops through a table.
New ads from NAB highlight the split second when a scam can occur.

 

“Customer scam reports increased by around 10% between October 2023 and March 2024 compared to the same period a year beforehand, while customer losses decreased by around 17%.”

Mr Sheehan said that in the past two years NAB had introduced a range of initiatives that were helping to make life harder for criminals.

“Since we announced last July we were removing links from SMSes, we’ve sent more than 40 million text messages to customers without links. That’s 40 million moments in 12 months where we’ve been able to make banking safer for our customers by making it easier to distinguish if a text message from NAB is legitimate,” he said.

“If you receive what looks like a text message from NAB that’s unexpected and it has a link in it, that’s a red flag. Don’t click the link, report the scam to NAB and Scamwatch, and delete it.

“Since we launched the payment alerts in March last year, customers have abandoned more than $100m in payments after they received the prompt. That tells us customers are taking a moment to stop and check their payment.

“This month also marks a year since we introduced blocking to some high-risk cryptocurrency merchants in line with industry. As a sector, banks have contributed to a 74% decrease in scam losses linked to crypto when comparing October to December 2023 to the same time frame the previous year.”

Mr Sheehan – a former Australian Federal Police executive – said the initiatives implemented combined with Aussies becoming more scam-savvy were having an impact.

“We can and will do more to protect our customers,” he said.

Image of a man in a suit and tie smiling.
NAB Group Investigations Executive Chris Sheehan. Mr Sheehan is a former Australian Federal Police executive and now leading NAB’s work to reduce the impact of scams and fraud.

 

“Working closely with Government, the banking industry and other sectors, we’re focused on delivering improvements that help detect and prevent scams.”

The details

  • Stay up to date with the latest scams and fraud advice available on NAB’s Security Hub.
  • Payment alerts were first introduced to the NAB app and Internet Banking in March 2023.
  • NAB announced on July 7, 2023 it was removing links from text messages sent to customers. Read more here.
  • Crypto loss stats sourced from National-Anti Scam Centre quarterly update.
  • Read more about the blocking of payments to high-risk crypto exchanges here.

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