National Australia Bank Halts Millions In Crypto Transactions Due To Scam Concerns

Jul. 18, 2023
National Australia Bank Halts Millions In Crypto Transactions Due To Scam Concerns

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has taken strict action to avoid potential scams related to risky crypto exchanges. The bank stopped certain payments to such exchanges to protect customers. NAB is one of the country’s ‘big four’ financial institutions.

According to a July 17 statement, NAB suspended payments totaling over $270 million ($183.8 million) from March to July. These funds were suspected of involvement in fraudulent activities. However, the bank didn’t provide exact details about the portion of transactions directly involved in the crypto scams.

Along with halting millions of payments, the bank will also block “some cryptocurrency platforms,” ​​according to the statement. Meanwhile, NAB has not disclosed the name of crypto exchanges.

NAB cited the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange reports for the past 30 days. Reports said about 50% of scams reported to the agency were linked to crypto. NAB’s Executive for Group Investigations and Fraud, Chris Sheehan, stated scammers used cryptocurrency firms to transfer these stolen funds overseas.

Further, Sheehan stated:

“These scammers are part of organized, transnational crime groups.” 

In 2022, Australians lost A$221 million ($150 million) to crypto frauds. However, it became one of the prominent threats in the country. Additionally, other Australian banks have recently taken similar steps. These include ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Westpac. A pro-crypto advocacy group, Blockchain Australia, has expressed concerns that these restrictions will suppress the crypto industry’s growth.

NAB Introduces Other Protective Measures For Crypto Customers

The bank said it introduced new measures in the last six months. The measures include the introduction of payment prompts, taking action on spoofing, and stopping the use of links in suspicious text messages.

These measures are working well. When payment reminders popped up in real-time, it led cancellation of about 12% of payments. Prompts appear when a transaction seems unusual compared to the customer’s normal activity. However, this is intended to allow the customer to review the payment before confirming it.

The bank said 12% of its customers are satisfied with the measures because it protects them from fraud. Meanwhile, Australia is not the only country working to stop malicious players from using crypto. Belarus is also creating a law to prevent people from trading cryptocurrencies on unregulated exchanges.

Syed Ali Haider

Researcher & Editor
Ali Haider is a Blockchain enthusiast and writer passionate about enhancing the acceptance, adoption, and integration of Blockchain technology worldwide. He has also advocated for digital freedom and cybersecurity for many years.