PTSB launches innovative new ‘PTSB Protect’ security feature
Theo Wooster

Recently rebranded PTSB has launched an innovative new feature to its banking app. Called ‘PTSB Protect’, it's aimed at protecting customers from fraudulent scams.

Banking fraud and phishing scams have been on the rise in Ireland over the past few years, with many people now well acquainted with dodgy texts and emails. 

A Banking and Payments Federation Ireland’s (BPFI) FraudSMART survey found that €84.6 million was stolen through fraud and scams in 2022, up 8.8% on the previous year. 

Text message fraud, also known as smishing, is now the most common form of fraud, with half of adults having received a scam text message in 2022. 

In an effort to protect its customers from these ever more common forms of fraud, PTSB has launched a unique and innovative new feature to its mobile banking app called ‘PTSB Protect’. 

How does it work?

PTSB Protect is designed to notify users if they receive a text message containing a fraudulent link, and block customers from visiting suspicious sites on their phone. 

It will do this by comparing links received on the customer's phone to a database containing links known to be fraudulent. This database will be updated daily to ensure that as many scam links as possible are covered by the feature. 

When the app detects a fraudulent link, it will either block the website outright, or send a push notification to the customer. 

To be able to do this, the app will need to scan all incoming texts received at all times, although PTSB states that it will have no access to information stored on mobile devices.

Because the banking app will now need additional permissions to access browsing and text message data, this new feature will be opt-in only. To help encourage take-up of the feature, PTSB will begin undertaking an awareness campaign. 

On the announcement, Peter Vance, Chief Operating Officer of PTSB, said: 

“Attempts to defraud customers through criminal activity have increased significantly over the last number of years. Our own research suggests that 75% of Irish consumers have experienced an attempt of fraud with 27% falling victim to it. With scams getting more sophisticated, consumers need to continue to be on their guard at all times. By introducing PTSB Protect as a new line of defence to our mobile app, we can now directly identify the source of this activity and help protect our customers before their accounts can become compromised. Financial fraud is a significant threat and it is often being targeted at groups that may think they are less vulnerable, so we’re delighted to partner with Expleo Ireland on this world-first anti-smishing solution.”

How can you avoid being ‘smished’?

With smishing, the term given to describe text message scams, becoming ever more prevalent, how can you avoid being scammed? 

For those who are not PTSB customers, who will not receive the additional security of PTSB Protect, the best way to avoid being scammed over SMS is to never click on links within a text message, or call a number you are asked to ring.

Banks and other reputable organisations never ask for urgent personal information over text, so receiving a text of this nature is a red flag in and of itself.

Scammers usually try to create a false sense of urgency, to encourage people to quickly hand over details without having the time to think about the sensitive information they are giving. Therefore, if you feel you are being pushed to act quickly over text, it is more than likely going to be a scam.

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