In an advisory released via the Singapore Police Force Facebook page on Thursday, August 30, the SPF warned that SMS messages and online ads pretending to originate from OCBC and DBS Banks are actually phishing scams that have succeeded in obtaining credit card details and other personal information from people victimized by the scams.
These victims later found transactions from overseas charged to their cards.
The advisory explained that the ads or SMS messages contained links that led to websites promoting new investments or software that would make investors rich quicly. Victims were asked for personal details on an online form or via a phone call from a person supposedly representing the bank.
The police advised the public to be careful when giving away financial and personal details online, and when clicking links, to always look for signs that websites are secure, such as “https” instead of “http” and a key icon on the browser.
When in doubt, the advisory said, call the customer hotline of the bank to verify such promotions or investments.
The police also advised people to report false charges on credit card statements, and gave contact details for the anti-scam helpline and website (1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg.)
Last Friday, August 24, OCBC Bank also posted a warning of this kind of phishing activity on its Facebook page, concerning SMS messages that encourage people to peruse new investments or software, making it very clear that the bank did not send these messages.
“Some of them claim that OCBC has announced new software that will make you a millionaire, while others tell you some miraculous software will let you “quit your job in 30 days”:
These are NOT sent by OCBC Bank.
If you know of friends and loved ones who have been tempted to click on the links provided in these SMSes, please tell them not to. While we work hard to help our customers succeed, we certainly don’t believe in “Get rich quick” approaches.”
As early as August 3, DBS issued a similar scam alert. “These fraudulent SMSes often lead to sites which are fronts for investment scams or phishing attacks, where they will try to obtain your financial information or convince you to transfer funds to them under false pretences.”
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued an advisory in May regarding an increase in phishing attempts and urged consumers to be extremely careful when giving away personal or financial information.
Earlier this year, a video that went viral showed a man whose back pocket had been tapped by a device, a move which supposedly allowed thieves to obtain his financial information.
This phenomenon was particularly alarming since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched a “going cashless initiative” in his National Day Rally speech in 2017, on the premise that Singapore needs to move more quickly in terms of digital transformation, and use more e-payment systems.
Such stealing of personal and financial information has made netizens question PM Lee’s move toward cashlessness.