A Singapore woman was allegedly robbed of her life savings of nearly S$60,000 and left with a bank account balance of just S$99 after she answered a scam call that she thought was from DBS bank.
The woman’s adult daughter, Facebook user Labina Fariah, revealed last Tuesday (14 Jan) that someone called her widowed mother on the Viber app and claimed to be calling from DBS bank. The person told Labina’s mother that he needed her bank account information to check on her account as he noticed that the account was being hacked.
Revealing that her mother assumed that the caller was going to help her rectify some issues she had been having with her iBanking app, Labina recounted that even then her mother was wary but eventually trusted the caller, who identified himself as Rohit Sharma:
“…my mother was having issues with her iBanking App some time ago and she assumed the guy was going to rectify the matter.
“Even at this point, she was not completely clueless, she asked him why was he calling her via “Viber” and not a local number. He told her to just listen to him. Simply put, she fell for his words. She provided him with her 16 digits bank card number and her iBanking pin.”
Labina revealed that her mother’s entire life savings of S$54,999.06 was subsequently wiped from her account. Multiple overseas remittances were made to unknown account holders from the State Bank of India and Labina’s mother was left with a bank account balance of just S$99 after she provided a one-time password to the caller.
Revealing that the incident made her mother break down, Labina said that her mother worked very hard – especially after her husband passed away unexpectedly a decade ago – to provide for her two children and save money so she would not have to burden her children in her old age.
Expressing frustration over the alleged lack of adequate safeguards to protect bank account-holders from such scams, Labina asked:
“She has placed her blind faith into DBS bank and what puzzled me most was, how come DBS bank allowed for the transactions to go through when someone in the back end should have records that this account holder has never made such big transactions.
“Is this how modern day robbery looks like? I do my banking transactions online and via mobile apps. So what happens if I lose my phone? Shouldn’t the Bank be protecting our money? Do we need to keep our money in biscuit tins now?”‘
Labina’s mother has filed a police report. The Independent has reached out to DBS bank for comment.