In a recent report by Channel NewsAsia, it has been revealed that at least 219 DBS customers have fallen victim to a surge in SMS phishing scams within the first two weeks of this year, resulting in a total loss of approximately S$446,000 (US$335,000). The alarming increase prompted a joint news release from the police and DBS, attributing the rise to a surge in cases of SMS phishing scams since December of the previous year.
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According to Channel NewsAsia, these scams involve fraudsters impersonating banks or bank staff, targeting victims with unsolicited SMS messages bearing short codes, overseas numbers, or local numbers. The messages claim to represent DBS or POSB bank, warning recipients of possible unauthorized attempts to access their bank accounts. The unsuspecting victims are then urged to click on embedded links to verify their identities and stop the alleged transactions.
In response to Channel NewsAsia's inquiries, a DBS spokesperson stated that the bank would assess victims' circumstances and offer goodwill payouts on a case-by-case basis. Beyond financial assistance, DBS also partners with counseling centers to provide emotional support for victims.
The joint statement from the police and DBS, as reported by Channel NewsAsia, emphasized that banks would never send clickable links via SMS. Since early 2022, banks have removed clickable links in emails or SMS messages to retail customers, implementing various safeguards to combat phishing scams.
Channel NewsAsia advises the public to install the ScamShield App, enable two-factor authentication for bank accounts and e-wallets, and set up transaction limits. Importantly, DBS employees will never ask for internet banking credentials or OTPs, as reported by Channel NewsAsia. Customers suspecting they may have fallen prey to scams are encouraged to call DBS' fraud hotline at 1800 339 6963 or activate the Safety Switch on DBS' automated phone system to temporarily block access to their funds.
Channel NewsAsia reports that the DBS spokesperson reiterated that the bank would assist affected customers with necessary follow-up actions, including card replacements and lodging fraud reports. To stay informed about the latest scam trends and advisories, DBS recommends regularly checking its website, as highlighted by Channel NewsAsia, which also features collaborative efforts with government bodies to create educational anti-scam content.
As SMS phishing scams continue to evolve, DBS and the police, as reported by Channel NewsAsia, are committed to raising public awareness, enhancing security measures, and providing support for victims in their ongoing efforts to combat financial fraud.