Over 30 Scam Victims Received Goodwill Payouts From OCBC
OCBC Bank has been in the news this week as its customers lost massive amounts of money after falling prey to phishing scams.
Though victims were duped into providing their log-in details to scammers, some have nevertheless expressed that the bank should do something for those affected.
OCBC has seemingly heard the call and said they have been making goodwill payouts to scam victims.
The case has already attracted the attention of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which said they hoped victims would be fairly treated.
More than 30 customers received payouts
In a statement sent to MS News on Monday (17 Jan), OCBC said more than 30 customers had received payouts since 8 Jan.
They were made “on a goodwill basis” after OCBC had conducted thorough verification and taken into account the circumstances of each case.
Besides setting up a dedicated team to support victims, the bank has also reached out to them to address concerns and assure them of support.
Scam was particularly aggressive
As for the scam, OCBC described it as “particularly aggressive and highly coordinated”.
Unlike past cases, which promised “too good to be true” deals, this phishing scam preyed on a uniquely terrifying fear – that there was an issue with their bank accounts or credit cards.
Explaining how the scam worked, they said people would receive an SMS that appeared to be from the bank but actually sent by the scammers. They did this through “spoofing”.
Image courtesy of OCBC
The SMS would claim there are issues with their bank accounts or credit cards and contain a link to a phishing website disguised as OCBC’s website.
Image courtesy of OCBC
It will request sensitive info like one’s username, PIN and One-Time Password (OTP).
OCBC said their investigations confirmed that victims had provided such online banking log-in credentials to the spoof websites.
After that, the scammers transferred their money out “very fast”, they added.
Image courtesy of OCBC
Scam became increasingly aggressive in Dec
Since the scam first surfaced in Dec 2021, it “became increasingly aggressive” over the year-end festive season.
OCBC had issued multiple alerts to customers by various means since 3 Dec, including its website, online banking log-in pages, email and social media.
SMS messages were sent to all customers on 2 separate dates, and they also reached out to customers who might have been unaware of their susceptibility.
OCBC acknowledges service shortfall
However, the bank admitted that OCBC’s customer service was unfortunately short of expectations.
This was because they “needed more time to get back” to the victims due to the complexity of investigations into their cases.
OCBC sought the patience and understanding of all affected customers, so they have time to “properly review and validate each case thoroughly”.
MAS will consider supervisory actions
Despite the restitutions OCBC has made so far, MAS has said it takes a serious view of the matter. This is because,
They have significantly impacted several customers.
In a statement reported by Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Singapore’s financial regulatory authority said it’s been following up on the case with OCBC.
They will also consider “appropriate supervisory actions” against the bank after OCBC has investigated the deficiencies in their processes and taken action to remedy them.
MAS expects victims to be treated fairly
MAS also noted that OCBC had made goodwill payouts to affected customers, adding,
MAS expects all affected customers to be treated fairly.
They also expect all financial institutions in Singapore to have “robust measures” in fraud prevention, detection and remediation.
The banks must also provide “prompt assistance” to their customers who have been scammed, MAS added.
Do stay alert for scams
The recent spate of scams is serious indeed, as some victims have lost their life savings to them.
While it’s good that victims have received some form of consolation from OCBC, it’s uncertain whether it’ll be enough.
That’s why it’s still important to protect ourselves by staying alert – don’t click on suspicious links and don’t provide any personal details to unconfirmed sources.
Only by keeping vigilant can one remain unscathed by the frightening scams going around nowadays.
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