Commonwealth Bank offers free AI tools globally to combat tech abuse, aiding those affected, including 28% of Australians over 65.

The issue of technology-enabled abuse is prevalent worldwide. Given this, it should come as no surprise that a recent study found that 28% of Australians over 65 have either personally experienced financial abuse or know someone who has.

As a result, the multinational bank Commonwealth Bank, headquartered in Australia, is assisting in the reduction of technology-facilitated abuse globally by providing any bank in the world with free access to its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques.

Known as technology-facilitated abuse, the bank’s AI model assists in identifying digital payment transactions that contain abusive, threatening, or harassing communications. Currently, it finds about 1,500 patients of high risk every year.

One of the most effective methods to keep someone in an abusive relationship is through financial abuse, according to Commonwealth Bank group customer advocate Angela MacMillan. Financial abuse is when money is used to manipulate a partner. Regretfully, we witness offenders employing a variety of strategies to get around the laws already in place, such as sending derogatory or threatening remarks through the messaging section during a digital transaction.

We created this technique in response to our observation that certain consumers were intimidating or harassing other people by utilising transaction descriptions. This methodology allows us to scan anomalous transactional behaviour and spot trends and situations that are considered to be high risk, allowing the bank to look into them and take appropriate action.

“Our source code and model will be made available to any bank worldwide, enabling financial institutions to better monitor technology-facilitated abuse.” This may help to guide any action the bank decides to take to better safeguard its clients.

Assisting vulnerable clients

According to a Commonwealth Bank study, nine out of ten respondents think that it would be difficult for victims of financial abuse to get assistance, and the majority (six out of ten) would not feel comfortable offering assistance to someone who is being abused.

Of those who are victims of financial abuse, over half (52%) think they are capable of handling the abusive behaviours on their own.

The goal of Commonwealth Bank’s use of AI is to make banking safer for all of its clients, particularly those who are vulnerable.

This week, the model and source code are accessible on GitHub, the biggest source code hosting platform in the world, thanks to the bank’s collaboration with AI startup H2O.ai.

The bank has put in place an automatic filter that stops abusive, threatening, or obscene phrases in digital payment transactions as part of its huge efforts to stop technology-facilitated abuse. Since its implementation in 2020, around one million transactions have been stopped.

This news comes after the bank and the NSW Police conducted a pilot programme earlier this year to report financial abusers to the police with the permission of the victims.

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