Westpac helps customers with online shopping scams with new tech


Have you ever been scammed while trying to buy something online? According to Westpac, online scams are costing Australians hundreds of millions each year.

In order to help combat this issue, Westpac has just announced the launch of their new software that blocks online payments that are suspected of being a scam in real time. The software uses bots that automatically stop transactions to overseas retailers when a suspected scam is detected and then the customer is notified via SMS.

If the customer believes that the payment is legitimate, they can contact Westpac and request that the payment proceeds. This has been very successful so far, with 99% of suspected scams not being followed up by Westpac customers.

Westpac’s chief executive consumer and business banking, Chris de Bruin explains that with the rise of online shopping scams from overseas retailers targeting Australians, Westpac is ramping up its investment in technologies that will help detect and prevent customers from being scammed.

The company trialled this system last year with select online stores and was successful in blocking more than 11,000 potential scams and saving more than $1.2 million.

“Through expanding this to more merchants, our modelling predicts we will stop an additional 2,000 customers each day losing an estimated $120 million annually to dodgy overseas retailers,” said de Bruin.

How to be safe online shopping

Here are some quick tips to help you avoid falling victim to an online scam:

  • Research. If you are buying from a new company, do some research on the merchant and see where they are based to confirm that they are a legitimate and trusted business.
  • Double check freebies. Be wary of free trials or additional costs after the initial purchase.
  • Use a CVC. Some banks such as Westpac provide digital cards which give you a temporary CVC code that changes every 24 hours, which adds an extra layer of security when online shopping.
  • Watch for suspicious activity. If you have lost your debit or credit card or suspect that it has been stolen, contact your bank immediately and have your card frozen or cancelled to avoid any unauthorised purchases.
  • If you’re looking for more tips on how to save time and money while shopping online, check out our Online Shopping hub.