Banks call for government aid in anti-scam efforts

Proposal for national centre to combat scams

Banks call for government aid in anti-scam efforts

The New Zealand Banking Association (NZBA) is advocating for governmental support to establish a New Zealand Anti-Scam Centre, in response to increasing scam activities and the need for a coordinated defence strategy.

NZBA’s proposal to government

NZBA CEO Roger Beaumont (pictured above) outlined the urgency in a letter to Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly.

“Banks are often at the end of a chain of events that leads to criminals stealing money from New Zealanders,” Beaumont said.

He emphasised the collective effort required to bolster New Zealand’s defences against scams, involving government, telecommunications companies, social media platforms, and search engines.

Enhancing scam prevention capabilities

The proposed Anti-Scam Centre would aim to streamline efforts against scam activities, starting with targeting mule bank accounts used to transfer stolen funds.

“Banks have got the ball rolling with the Anti-Scam Centre by targeting mule bank accounts, which are used by criminals to move stolen money,” Beaumont said. “To take the centre to the next level, we’re initially asking the government for operational support by involving the police and other relevant agencies.”

Government’s role in scam prevention

“We’re also asking the government to help remove any regulatory barriers to the Anti-Scam Centre working effectively, and to set scam prevention expectations for other industries,” Beaumont said.

Broader industry cooperation needed

In aligning with international best practices, NZBA urged broader involvement from various sectors, stressing that banks cannot tackle digital crime alone.

The organisation is pushing for a comprehensive approach that includes dedicated resources from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, regulatory waivers, and coordinated actions led by the Commerce and Consumer Affairs minister.

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