National Australia Bank blocks payments to ‘high-risk’ crypto exchanges

Quick Take

  • The Australian lender said it’s taking action to block some payments to ‘high-risk’ crypto exchanges, but it didn’t disclose the platforms involved.
  • Australians lost $151 million last year due to crypto-related scams, NAB noted.

National Australia Bank (NAB) said it had blocked some payments to “high-risk” cryptocurrency exchanges over the past few months to protect its customers.

The bank said in a Monday statement that it had intervened in more than A$270 million ($183.8 million) worth of payments that raised scam concerns between March and July. The bank did not disclose how many of these alerts were triggered by crypto-related scams.

“Introducing payment prompts, taking action on spoofing and stopping the use of links in unexpected text messages are among key measures we’ve introduced recently,” Chris Sheehan, NAB Executive for Group Investigations and Fraud, said in the statement.

“We’re now also taking action to block some payments to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges in a further effort to stop scammers,” he added, without elaborating on the specific exchanges involved.

NAB noted that Australians lost over A$221 million ($150.5 million) last year due to crypto-related scams. 

Stricter banking on crypto scams

NAB has joined a number of other Australian banks in becoming more cautious about potential crypto scams in recent months. 

Last month, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia took measures to limit its customers' ability to send money to crypto exchanges due to crypto-related scams. 

NAB said nearly 50% of scam funds reported to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange were linked to cryptocurrency in a recent 30-day period. 

“These scammers are part of organized, transnational crime groups. Increasingly, we’re seeing them use cryptocurrency platforms to send stolen funds quickly and often overseas,” Sheehan said.

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