Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is taking an extra step towards improving Australia’s “whole-of-ecosystem” approach to combatting scams. Specifically, it is the first bank to integrate and share information into a new anti-scam intelligence loop (intel loop).

Co-designed by the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) and National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), the intel loop means banks, telecommunications networks, internet service providers and social media companies can share information on scams between themselves more easily. Thus, enabling faster action and greater protections.

Organisations that integrate into the loop will be able to quickly share verified information with other participants. This means that phone numbers and URLs used by scammers for calls and SMSs can be blocked. In addition, fake websites, social media advertisements and posts can be taken down.

Information sharing between participants will be increased in phases. There is an initial focus on reducing the number of SMS phishing scams. Since integrating, CBA has submitted over 1,200 entries into the loop containing scam phone numbers and dodgy URLs. According to NASC, phishing was the most common type of scam attempted in 2023.

‘Whole-of-ecosystem’ problem

NASC data shows that overall scam losses in Australia have begun to fall. But CBA recognises that greater collaboration across industries, government and law enforcement is critical for Australia to become a less attractive target for scammers.

James Roberts, General Manager Group Fraud at CBA, said: “We view this as a ‘whole-of-ecosystem’ problem. The majority of scams originate outside the banking sector, often as fake websites, texts and social media advertisements.

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“As the first bank to integrate into AFCX’s intel loop, CBA is committing to sharing across industries the intelligence we collect, to help bolster the nation’s response. It has been encouraging recently to see a reduction in the amount our customers are losing to scams. But there is more to do.

“Our fraud team helped to build the intel loop infrastructure, adding another layer to Australia’s defence. To combat scams effectively we must coordinate across banks, telcos, governments, social media and digital platforms. CBA encourages key industry players to integrate into the loop. The more organisations that contribute intelligence, the stronger our defences will be.”