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How SMS phishing scams have affected OCBC clients and put textual content messaging safety in focus

How SMS phishing scams have affected OCBC clients and put textual content messaging safety in focus

SINGAPORE – Dec 28 just isn’t a day that housewife Siti Raudhah Mohd Ali, 33, remembers fondly. The mom of seven misplaced about $100,000 to scammers inside minutes that day after she fell for a bogus SMS that had spoofed OCBC Financial institution because the sender.

A lot of the cash was meant for her youngsters’s bills.

“It was like the entire world simply crashed on me. I felt helpless inside,” she stated, recounting how she acquired a number of notifications of the fraudulent transfers on her telephone.

She is considered one of practically 470 OCBC clients who misplaced at the least $8.5 million final month to SMS phishing scams. Over the Christmas weekend alone, 186 clients misplaced about $2.7 million, the financial institution stated.

Madam Siti was so traumatised by the incident that, for a couple of days after that, she had issue going about her day by day actions. She additionally suffered from gastric ache, doubtless as a result of stress from the state of affairs.

Whereas OCBC finally paid her again the quantity she misplaced, a lot to her aid, she continues to be affected by the occasions of Dec 28 and is searching for assist from a therapist.

Victims who contacted The Straits Instances stated they misplaced quantities starting from about $3,000 to $500,000, which for some amounted to their complete life financial savings constructed up over time for his or her households.

Some victims claimed that it took so lengthy – 20 minutes or extra in some instances – to get by means of to an individual through OCBC’s hotline that, by the point the financial institution was capable of take motion, the scammers had already siphoned a lot of their funds.

In desperation, one buyer rushed right down to a bodily financial institution department to try to cease the scammers however was too late, in line with one account.

Amid extra clients coming ahead within the new 12 months to share how the scams affected them, and extra questions being raised about how protected digital banking is, OCBC and the authorities moved in fast succession final week to handle the problem.

On Monday (Jan 17), the Infocomm Media Growth Authority (IMDA) urged extra companies to enroll with an anti-SMS spoofing registry, which permits organisations to register SMS sender names they want to shield from misuse.

The registry was launched as a pilot scheme in August final 12 months with the Financial Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of the Affiliation of Banks in Singapore (ABS), later stated that for the registry to be efficient, “all related stakeholders within the digital ecosystem should be concerned, notably telecommunications firms to make sure rip-off messages can’t be despatched by means of their networks”.

MAS additionally stated on Monday that it might take into account the suitable supervisory actions after OCBC carried out an intensive probe into the scams.

On Wednesday, OCBC stated all affected clients would get full goodwill funds for the funds they misplaced.

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