National Australia Bank blocks millions in crypto transactions citing scam concerns
National Australia Bank (NAB) blocked over A$270 million (around $184 million) in customer payments that raised scam concerns during the last four months, according to a July 17 statement.
NAB blocking payments to ‘high-risk’ cryptocurrency exchanges
NAB stated it stopped an undisclosed amount of transactions to crypto platforms where scams were prevalent between March and July. The bank did not name any exchange.
NAB, citing reports to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange over a recent 30-day period, claimed that 50% of scams reported to the agency were linked to crypto.
Chris Sheehan, NAB’s Executive for Group Investigations and Fraud, said these scammers used cryptocurrency platforms to send these stolen funds overseas.
Last year, Australians lost A$221 million, over $150 million, to cryptocurrency scams, making this type of scam one of the fastest-growing threats in the country.
Other banks in Australia, including Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ, and Westpac, have also taken similar steps recently. Blockchain Australia, a pro-crypto advocacy group, has expressed concerns that these restrictions could potentially inhibit the cryptocurrency industry’s growth within the country.
Meanwhile, Australia is not the only country working to prevent malicious players’ use of crypto. Belarus is working on a law to ban crypto trading outside of regulated exchanges to combat cybercrime.
NAB introduces other customer protection measures
Meanwhile, NAB stated that it introduced new measures within the last six months to better protects its customers.
The bank explained that some of the measures included the introduction of payment prompts, blocking the use of links in suspicious text messages, and taking action on spoofing.
These measures have had the desired effect, as the real-time payment prompts have led to the abandonment of about 12% of payments. The prompt appears if the transaction is uncharacteristic of the user activity and is meant to give the customer time to review before confirmation.
Despite slowing their transaction speed, the bank said 12% of its customers were pleased with the measures because it protects them from scams.