Banks make progress on anti-scam initiatives

The country's banks are getting closer to establishing a national Anti-Scam Centre and strengthening measures to protect consumers from criminals.

New Zealand Banking Association (NZBA) CEO Roger Beaumont said banks had made strong progress on introducing an account name checking service and removing weblinks from texts to customers.

“We are currently looking at technical options and extensive work is underway to ensure compliance with existing privacy laws. This will enable a timeline for the initiatives, including implementation of a confirmation of payee service, which will allow people making an online payment from one bank account to another to check the name of the account they are paying. We expect to provide more detail by the end of April,” he said. 

“Scammers often use weblinks or hyperlinks in text messages to gain access to people’s bank accounts. To help reduce this kind of scam risk, banks have committed to removing links from texts to customers. Some banks are already there, and nearly all will have done this by the end of April, with others following as soon as they can.”

Mr Beaumont also said banks had started sharing additional information to help identify and reduce fraudulent payments to mule accounts, which he described as a growing problem. (Money mules are people used by criminals to transfer dirty money on their behalf.)

“Banks were already sharing some information on money mules, but the new phase of work will increase the speed and amount of information being shared,” he said. 

“We are committed to further progressing this work with support from other agencies by mid next year.”


NZBA's anti-scam tips

  • Trust your instincts – if it feels wrong, it probably is.
  • Urgency is a red flag – scammers try to rush you.
  • Your bank will never ask you for passwords, log-in details or two-factor authentication codes, nor will they send you an email or text message asking you to log in.
  • Your bank will never tell you to move your money to a ‘safe’ account, or ask you to use your money to help catch a scammer.
  • Think carefully before entering your credit card details online.
  • Be cautious with unsolicited texts, emails, or calls – don’t give out details that could be used to impersonate you.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments from people you don’t know or seem out of character for someone you do know.
  • Don’t respond to instructions to download unknown software – it could be malware to access your accounts.
  • Be careful of deals that sound too good to be true – they probably are.
  • Contact investment firms or businesses via their official New Zealand-based websites, never via online contacts, emails, links or phone numbers sent to you directly or from other websites on the internet.
  • Use strong, unique passwords and PINs for your banking.
  • Report scams to your bank immediately.



Published: 19/1/2024