219 DBS customers lose S$446,000 to scams in span of 2 weeks

There has been a surge in cases of SMS phishing scams since December 2023. 

Ruth Chai | January 14, 2024, 03:59 PM



At least 219 DBS customers fell prey to scams in the first two weeks of 2024.

Their losses amounted to around S$446,000, CNA reported.

According to a joint news release issued by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and DBS, there has been a surge in cases of SMS phishing scams since December 2023.

A DBS spokesperson told CNA that the bank will assess each victim's circumstance and "offer goodwill payouts on a case-by-case basis".

The bank also partners with counselling centres to offer counselling services to victims who may need emotional support.

How the victims of SMS phishing scams lost their money

Victims received unsolicited SMSes bearing short codes, overseas numbers, or local numbers.

In the SMS, the scammers claimed they represented DBS or POSB bank or impersonated bank staff.

They warned the victims of "possible unauthorised attempts" to access their bank accounts.

The victims were then asked to tap on embedded links in the SMS to verify their identities in order to stop the "unauthorised transactions".

The links redirected the victims to fake DBS websites where they were asked to provide their internet banking details and One-Time-Passwords (OTPs).

The scammers then used the information to make unauthorised withdrawals.

How to spot scams

Both the SPF and DBS reminded the public that banks will never send clickable links via SMS.

They added that all banks have removed clickable links in their emails and SMSes to retail customers since early 2022 in an effort to combat phishing scams.

Other measures include lowering the default threshold for funds transfer transaction notifications to customers and increasing the frequency of scam education alerts.

Bank employees will also never ask for internet banking credentials or OTPs.

Customers should also check the website's address, and check for any inconsistencies and grammar errors, according to the National Crime Prevention Council

SPF and DBS advised the public to install the ScamShield App which serves as a layer of protection against scam calls and SMSes.

Transaction limits and two-factor authentication for bank accounts and e-wallets should be set up.

What to do if you have been scammed

DBS customers who suspect they may have fallen prey to scams can call DBS' fraud hotline at 1800 339 6963.

They should also activate the Safety Switch on DBS' automated phone system to temporarily block access to their funds.

DBS said that they will assist customers with follow-up actions such as lodging a fraud report.

The public can learn how to identify phishing scams on the Scam Alert website by the National Crime Prevention Council or call 1800 722 6688.

Those with information about scams can call the police at 1800 255 0000 or submit it online.

Top photo via Scam Alert Website