OCBC Bank has paid out S$13.7 million to 790 victims of the SMS phishing scam, it announced in a statement yesterday (Jan. 30).
These numbers are higher than the initial reported figures of 469 victims who lost S$8.5 million, as these were based on police reports made by victims at the time.
More police reports were made and submitted to the bank after the start of January this year.
Completed arrangements for "full goodwill payouts"
OCBC had earlier announced on Jan. 19 that it would make arrangements for "full goodwill payouts" to all victims of the recent SMS phishing scams by the end of last week.
In its statement on Jan. 30, the bank updated that these arrangements have been completed.
It added that there had not been any further fraudulent transactions in relation to this scam over the past few weeks.
Calls to OCBC surged by over 40 per cent during height of scam
OCBC said that of the S$13.7 million that was lost to scammers, about 80 per cent of it was lost during the year-end festive period between Dec. 23, 2021 and Dec. 30, 2021.
During this period, calls made to the bank's contact centre surged by over 40 per cent, said OCBC.
In addition to those who made police reports, the bank also reached out to victims who were unaware that they had been scammed.
The bank said more than 200 customers were prevented from falling prey due to their "enhanced measures" following the initial wave of scams.
OCBC: Customer service and response fell short of expectations, could have affected loss mitigation
OCBC said their investigations confirmed that victims who fell prey to the scams had provided their online banking log-in credentials and one-time PINs to phishing websites, which enabled scammers to take over their bank accounts and make fraudulent transactions.
"Nonetheless, OCBC Bank decided to make the full payout as a one-off gesture of goodwill given the circumstances of this scam. We also took into consideration that our customer service and response fell short of our own expectations, that could have affected loss mitigation in some of the cases," said OCBC.
Victims of the scam reported that they had been put on hold while trying to reach the bank's hotline. Some said money had left their bank accounts while they were put on hold.
The bank said it remains committed to ensuring the safety of its customer's funds and it will continue to improve its customer service and response.
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