Ethics & Governance
Banks and fraud prevention in the COVID-19 era
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With Australia's COVID-19 vaccine program in full swing, businesses and banking institutions across the country are cautiously optimistic that the nation's economic recovery is about to kick into gear.

After taking a battering in 2020, the economy has been showing signs of a modest bounce-back, with GDP gaining 3.3% last quarter, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its 'Australian national accounts: national income, expenditure and product' release of December 2020.

While these are promising signs that things are looking up, there are—as always—two sides to every coin, and with increased online spending comes greater risk of falling prey to fraudulent activity online. If anything, 2020 was generous in its lessons. One of the most pertinent lessons was that fraud thrives in times of economic uncertainty. Thousands of Australians learnt this the hard way, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Scamwatch recording over 6120 COVID-19-related scam incidents and more than $8,400,000 in losses since the pandemic first hit the country

What is most interesting here is not the number of fraud incidents, but the nature of these attempts. The ACCC reported that $36,368,687 was lost in buying and selling, and that the vast majority of these taking place via email (over $20 million) and internet mobile applications (around $4.7 million).