WELLINGTON, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Customer complaints about bank-related scams in New Zealand rose 43 percent on the previous year, an increase "at a worrying rate," the Banking Ombudsman said on Tuesday.
Nearly a third of all complaints formally investigated were about scams, and the average loss was 57,000 NZ dollars (about 33,762.52 U.S. dollars), predominated by phishing and investment scams, according to the New Zealand Banking Ombudsman Scheme's annual report.
The continual emergence of new and more sophisticated scams was a key factor in the rise, compounding a problem that was already costing New Zealanders more than 200 million NZ dollars (about 118.46 million U.S. dollars) a year, said Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden.
To slow this trend, the banking sector, along with other organizations, must take a more coordinated and unified approach to the problem, Sladden said, citing skillful intelligence-gathering, the clever use of technology, and educating consumers about scams and how to avoid them through documentary series.
"One immediate way to beat some scams would be to introduce confirmation of payee technology," she said, adding that this fraud detection system could reduce authorized push payment fraud and accidentally misdirected payments as it allows a customer to check whether the name of the recipient's account matches the name and account details provided by the customer.
There had been an increase in sophisticated unauthorized payment scam cases in which customers were duped into entering their banking credentials into fake websites, Sladden said.
More than 102,000 customers made complaints to their banks during the year, a rise of 10 percent, according to the Banking Ombudsman Scheme. ■