Improved defences cut online fraud

Online fraudsters seem to be having less success tricking Kiwibank customers into disclosing their internet banking passwords despite a flood of phishing attacks on Kiwibank.

Westpac’s head of retail online banking, Stu Woollett, says the number of internet fraud attacks is steadily declining, “perhaps because the perpetrators are learning that their methods are ineffective against the increasingly sophisticated defences that Westpac and other banks are putting in place”.

It has had only two reported losses to internet fraud this year.

The losses were “minimal” and were met by the bank rather than by customers. “With increased publicity and education around internet fraud, customers are learning to detect phishing and fraud attempts.”

Kiwibank spokesman Bruce Thompson would not disclose the number of successful attacks on its customers, but said they were also declining.

The bank has been subjected to a spate of emails designed to trick customers into visiting fake websites and keying in their usernames and passwords.

Mr Thompson speculated it was being targeted because fraudsters had only recently become aware of the banks’ existence.

“The circulation lists they are using are very widespread and only a small percentage are Kiwibank customers.

“The latest list they are using appears to have a number of media representatives on it and they have been quick to forward emails on to us.

“That means we are on to it and can close down the sites quickly.”

But Mr Thompson says it would be going too far to suggest banks are winning the war against fraudsters. “I think we are winning each battle.”

People were now very aware that no bank would send them an email asking for their access number and pin number.

“The difficulty is the sophistication of the sites they are setting up. I think it is important we don’t try to convey we have stopped this, because that could cause people to drop their guard.”

© Fairfax NZ News
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