With almost two in five (37%) Australians admitting to having been scammed or knowing someone who has, according to data from Australia Banking Association, fraud detection and identity verification has become increasingly important for Australian businesses.

The data also revealed that in 2020, cybercriminals stole $850 million from consumers, with some two-thirds of Australians dealing with an attempted scam each week. Despite rising threats, Australian organisations struggle to identify an efficient mix of corporate risk-management and compliance measures that do not detract from the customer’s online experience.

Global data, analytics and technology company, Equifax brought together a panel of experts to discuss how organisations can better build and maintain a strong risk management culture, adopt best practice risk management approaches, and satisfy customer expectations.

Equifax Australia and New Zealand general manager of identity, fraud and AML, Tehani Legeay believes it is essential that all businesses come together with the common goal of protecting Australian consumers from the risk of financial fraud.

“One thing we all agree on is that the fight against financial crime is one worth fighting,” she said.

“As such, when there is an opportunity for us to work together for the greater good, that is an opportunity we should grab with both hands. It is critical that in our app-driven, digital world companies do all in their power to avoid the risk of fraud, money-laundering and terrorist financing – all three of which pose a real and significant threat to Australian consumers and business.”

The panel agreed that even within a single organisation, implementing a quality AML program is often administratively difficult and can lead to internal friction. As a result, Australian businesses may be tempted to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach, leaving themselves, their partners, and consumers open to financial fraud, regulatory noncompliance and other adverse outcomes.

AUSTRAC principal specialist, Richard Bunting says collaboration between regulators and industry is critical in the battle against financial crime.

“AUSTRAC continues to work with industry sectors to consult on and provide guidance that reduces complexity and delivers greater clarity and certainty regarding AML/CTF obligations,” he said.

“Your AML/CTF program is an evergreen document and the work of board and senior management is intrinsic to staying on top of the challenges. It’s a constant theme and you will continue to hear a lot from AUSTRAC about governance. Proportionality is key. That means aligning your AML/CTF response – including any technological solutions, governance, and your systems and controls – to the level of assessed risk.”