S’pore Banks To Remove Links In Emails & Texts To Protect Customers From Phishing Scams

Banks To Remove Links In Emails & Texts As Part Of New Security Measures

Singapore is now on high alert against phishing scams.

Ever since the latest OCBC scam ripped through the accounts of over 400 victims, Singaporeans expect more from the entities they entrust their life savings to.

OCBC Scam Allegedly Erases Couple’s Life Savings, They Hope Banks Will Be More Accountable

Hence, the authorities have introduced a slew of new measures to strengthen security measures. Among these include removing clickable links in emails and texts sent from banks to customers.

We can expect these new changes to be implemented in 2 weeks.

Clickable links to be removed in emails & texts from banks

According to a press release by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), new security measures are necessary to enhance digital banking security.

At least 469 customers fell prey to the OCBC phishing scam, resulting in a staggering loss of at least $8.5 million.

Better safeguards are necessary, and these include:

  • removing clickable links in emails and texts sent from banks to customers
  • setting the limit for funds transfer notifications at $100 by default
  • delaying the activation of a new soft token on a mobile device by at least 12 hours
  • sending a notification to the contact number/email registered with the bank if there’s a request for a customer’s details to be changed

There will also be a “cooling-off period” before implementing requests for changes in a customer’s key contact details.

Banks should also have a “dedicated and well-resourced” customer assistance team to handle feedback on potential fraud cases.

Customers urged to be vigilant against scams

It takes 2 hands to clap. And in this case, the onus is also on the customers to be vigilant against scams.

MAS & ABS advise customers to:

  • refrain from clicking links in emails and texts
  • never reveal banking details or passwords to others
  • verify texts and emails by calling the bank
  • check that you’re at the bank’s official website or mobile app before making a transaction
  • keep track of transaction notifications, so unauthorised payments are reported ASAP

In the meantime, the banks will continue working with MAS, the police, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to tackle scams.

Apart from security measures, they are also looking into long-term solutions to combat SMS spoofing by setting up an SMS Sender ID registry. You can check out a related petition on Change.org about this here.

Stay vigilant, don’t click on links

The prevalence of online scams is distressing, making it harder for many to trust emails or texts from banks.

However, unsuspecting customers may still fall prey, judging by how legitimate the phishing scam appeared when it targeted OCBC Bank customers.

Warn your loved ones about how to protect themselves from scams. They can start by refraining from clicking on links in all emails and texts sent from banks.

And when in doubt, please call the bank directly. Stay vigilant.

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Featured image adapted from Unsplash.

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