The Commonwealth Bank has announced a major change to certain payments, in an effort to reduce scams.
The banking giant said it will cap cryptocurrency exchanges at $10,000 each calendar month, soon after it introduced 24-hour holds, declines and limits on outbound crypto payments.
Existing customers who are this month receiving correspondence from Commonwealth Bank will have 30 days from notification until the cap comes into effect.
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For new customers, limits were effective from the end of last month.
Withdrawals from cryptocurrency exchanges to your CommBank bank account will not be restricted, Commbank said.
It comes as new data clarifies the rising risk of cryptocurrency scams.
Last year, 3910 people reported cryptocurrency as the payment method behind a scam they were victims to, an annual increase of 162 per cent, which resulted in a total of $221.3 million lost, according to the ACCC.
The Commonwealth Bank predicts these figures will “rise significantly in the year ahead”.
Not all victims of scams even realise they are paying to a cryptocurrency exchange when they transfer their funds, the bank said.
“In other types of investment scams, customers think they are investing in particular investment categories other than crypto,” Commonwealth Bank said.
“However, the scammer arranges for the funds to be paid to a cryptocurrency exchange instead.”
The ACCC added that people who have lost money via cryptocurrency “were more likely to have been contacted via social networking or mobile app”
Commonwealth Bank general manager of group fraud management services James Roberts said during the initial rollout of its new safety measures in June: “Customers who make payments to cryptocurrency exchanges are currently facing a significantly higher risk of potentially being scammed.”
“While these measures will not eliminate the risk of customers suffering losses as a result of a scam that involves a payment to a cryptocurrency exchange, they are part of a range of initiatives designed to help customers reduce their risk of falling victim to a scam.”
It’s not the only bank to do so, either. Each of the “big four” banks has recently acknowledged the increasing damage caused by cryptocurrency scams, and have announced varying measures in response.
Westpac began trialling new cryptocurrency blocks alongside a list of other protections in May.
“The latest Westpac data shows investment scams account for approximately half of all scam losses and a third of all scam payments are transferred directly to a cryptocurrency exchange,” it said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the NAB said about 50 per cent of scams reported to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange were linked to crypto exchanges.
NAB said last month it would block cryptocurrency exchanges as part of its new strategy to reduce financial crime.
“If you attempt to make a payment using your NAB Visa credit or debit card to one of these exchanges, the transaction will be declined, and you will be shown a message which says, ‘Issuer Declined Transaction’,” the bank said on its website.
If customers still needed to make a payment to the blocked exchange, they then needed to contact that exchange to arrange an alternative form of payment, the website said.
ANZ said in June that it had “implemented new risk-based measures to mitigate” the “growing trend” of cryptocurrency scams.