CBA turns to AI in its fight against scammers

  • By Zilla Efrat

CommBank has introduced new artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect suspicious and unusual behaviour on its digital banking platforms as part of a wider strategy to prevent more Australians from falling victim to scams.

CBA is also rolling out two-way push notifications that are safer than one-way SMS messages, increasing its investment in scam and fraud protection, doubling the size of its scam protection and prevention team and releasing educational videos to inform customers how to protect themselves from scams. And, it is working on systematically addressing the distressing impact of scams on its customers.

This news follows the release of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on Monday that reveals Australians lost more than $2 billion to scams in 2021, despite government, law enforcement, and the private sector disrupting more scam activity than ever before.

According to the ACCC report, investment scams were the highest loss category ($701 million) in 2021, followed by payment redirection scams ($227 million), and romance scams ($142 million).

CBA’s new AI technology uses machine learning techniques to track unusual changes to how customers normally interact with their devices.

The bank says customers develop habits and patterns of behaviour in how they bank, when and on what devices, their keystrokes and the way they use a mouse. Deviations from these patterns could be a sign their accounts have been compromised or that someone else is using their devices.

CBA’s new “protect, detect and resolve” approach is aimed at identifying irregularities, identifying scammers and shutting down activity not authorised by the customer.

CBA has also introduced two-way push alerts in the CommBank App, with additional security alerts about transactions that appear suspicious. If the logon is not recognised by the customer, the bank’s scam and fraud detection platform will take the appropriate protective action and the customer is encouraged to reset their password.

“Cybercrime is skyrocketing and 92 per cent of Australians have already been exposed to scams,” says Kate Crous, CBA executive general manager of everyday banking.

“In 2021, we prevented or recovered more than $100 million in scams targeted at our customers.

“As scammers become more sophisticated, devious and harder to identify than ever, we want to help our customers feel safe when banking on their devices, knowing we’re doing whatever we can to protect, detect and resolve issues they encounter.”