Australia’s Largest Bank Falls Victim to Crypto News Scam

Updated by Geraint Price
In Brief
  • Commonwealth Bank warns of false reports of a cryptocurrency partnership.
  • The bank says it is a scam designed to defraud individuals of their funds.
  • There has been a spike in fake partnership announcements in Australia in recent months.
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The largest lender in Australia has warned that a story claiming that it has partnered with a cryptocurrency trading platform is false.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) issued a statement that urged users to disregard reports that the bank had entered into a partnership with a trading platform. 

The “article” purports to be a story on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website, but closer scrutiny shows the website is a funnel to redirect users to the scammer’s website.

“Commonwealth Bank has become aware of a fake news article circulating on social media, including Facebook, alleging the bank partnered with a cryptocurrency trading platform to encourage people to invest in crypto assets. This is totally false and untrue,” reads the warning.

The bank revealed that it has urged social media publishers to take down the article and has gone a step further to file a formal complaint with authorities. 

Through an internal channel, the bank warned customers not to click on links to the article as they run the risk of potentially losing their funds.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia created history in 2021 when it became the first high street bank to allow customers to trade cryptocurrencies in partnership with Gemini. “We believe we can play an important role in crypto to address what’s clearly a growing customer need,” said Matt Comyn, the bank’s chief executive, at the time.

Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Meta to court claiming it has “aided and abetted or was knowingly concerned in false or misleading conduct and representations by the advertisers.”

The Commission argued that Facebook failed to address scam ads that were shown on the platform. In response, a company spokesperson claims that they would “review the recent filing by the ACCC and intend to defend the proceedings.”

Andrew Forest, the chairman of Fortescue Metals Groups, also filed a case against Meta for allegedly using his image to promote cryptocurrency schemes on their platforms.

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