Wed. Jul 24th, 2024
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ANZ Introduces Behavioural Biometrics to Combat Rising Fraud Attempts

Last month, ANZ Bank introduced a new anti-scam measure designed to protect customers from fraud: the collection of behavioural biometrics. This initiative comes in response to a growing number of scams that cost New Zealanders around $200 million annually. With increasing calls for banks to enhance their fraud prevention efforts, ANZ has taken a significant step in safeguarding its customers.

Understanding Behavioural Biometrics

Alan Thomsen, ANZ’s head of customer protection, explained that behavioural biometrics technology measures various factors, such as the way customers swipe, scroll, and type in the goMoney app or on the bank’s website. Additionally, the system collects data on device models, operating systems, and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Unlike JavaScript-based ad tech fingerprinting, which tracks what users click on, ANZ’s system focuses on how users interact with their devices. “The system looks at how you use the app and website, and not what you click on,” Thomsen said.

Building a Behavioural Profile

It takes three months to build a behavioural biometrics profile for a customer. Once this profile is established, the system generates a score indicating the likelihood that the person performing the transactions is indeed the customer. A low score suggests that the person is likely genuine, while a high score may indicate potential fraud, prompting the bank to pause the transaction automatically.

In such cases, ANZ’s 24-hour anti-scam and fraud team contacts the customer to verify the transaction. This process helps avoid false positives, such as when customers are overseas and may type differently due to jet lag.

Ensuring Accuracy and Privacy

The system’s accuracy is crucial for detecting anomalous use, including “live scamming” events where scammers direct victims over the phone. Thomsen highlighted the importance of this technology in identifying real-time scams, saying, “Beyond situations where the customer’s credentials have been captured and are used by someone else, [the technology] can detect when the scammer is on the phone telling people what to do.”

ANZ has confirmed that its data collection practices comply with the Privacy Act in New Zealand. The bank consulted with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which approved the behavioural biometrics collection. The data shared with ANZ’s security partner is anonymised, ensuring that it cannot be used to identify customers and will only be used for security purposes.

Early Results and Future Implementation

Although local data on the effectiveness of the new technology is not yet available, ANZ is optimistic about its potential. “In Australia, where ANZ uses a similar system, it has led to a 35% reduction in remote access scams,” Thomsen reported.

In addition to behavioural biometrics, ANZ and other New Zealand banks will roll out confirmation of payee systems this year, further protecting customers from fraudsters posing as legitimate users or organisations.

ANZ in Australia has also employed artificial intelligence to identify “mule accounts” used for transferring money by scammers, successfully identifying 1,400 such accounts.

Westpac’s Biometric Defence

While ANZ has not disclosed its technology partner, another major bank, Westpac, has implemented a similar system from Biocatch since September last year. Biocatch’s technology tracks over 3,000 physical traits in how customers use banking apps and websites.

“In 2023, we implemented biometric behavioural technology which helps us identify when a customer’s account may have been compromised and act quickly to prevent or recover funds that may have been lost fraudulently. It has already helped us prevent millions of dollars of customer losses so far this year,” a Westpac spokesperson told interest.co.nz.

In Australia, Westpac’s parent bank reported that it had prevented A$11 million in customer fraud losses through the use of biometric technology.

By adopting behavioural biometrics and other advanced technologies, ANZ and other banks are strengthening their defences against the increasingly sophisticated tactics of fraudsters, providing greater security and peace of mind for their customers. TIN BUREAU

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