The Age said Monday that two-thirds of the call center employees contacted helped the caller gain access to bank accounts and financial records even though they were aware the accounts didn't belong to the caller.
"They weren't trying to be fraudulent," said Peter Grist, managing partner of the research firm Global Reviews, which conducted the survey. "They knew the rules, but human beings like to help."
Global Reviews made 20 undercover calls to each of eight different bank help lines in November. The operators all explained that helping access someone else's account was against the rules, but they began bending those rules with a little coaxing.
"The callers would say things such as, 'My girlfriend needs to transfer money today, she's gone to work, I have to do it for her, she'll kill me when I come home tonight,'" said Grist.
Grist said the assistance was generally limited to walking callers through the steps needed to access an account. Those callers, however, had information such as dates of birth, which an estranged spouse or partner might easily have, to help move the process along.