Anxious elderly woman.

SINGAPORE: Maybank Singapore has successfully thwarted scams, saving its customers almost S$1 million in 2023. Collaborating with the Singapore Police Force, the bank diligently tracked and intervened in 14 scam cases from March to November, preventing losses amounting to S$975,800.

In a notable case, The Straits Times reported that Ms Nurul Amaleena, an assistant service manager at Maybank’s Jurong Point branch, averted a significant financial disaster for a 61-year-old customer. Acting swiftly upon detecting suspicious signs during a cashier’s order request, Ms Amaleena prevented the customer from losing her life savings – a total of S$338,000 – to a government official impersonation scam.

The incident happened on Oct 25 when the customer, in a seeming rush, applied for a S$130,000 cashier’s order. Ms Amaleena, noticing the urgency and the substantial amount involved, probed the customer further, discovering a distressing situation.

The customer, under the influence of a scammer posing as a police inspector, was coerced into believing she was implicated in a money laundering case. The scammer had threatened legal action against her family if she did not comply.

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Despite initial resistance, the customer eventually disclosed her situation, prompting Ms Amaleena to escalate the matter to Maybank’s digital banking fraud team.

The team, working with the police’s Anti-Scam Centre, swiftly acted to freeze the scammer’s foreign bank account and safeguard the funds.

Simultaneously, they advised the customer to encash two additional cashier’s orders, totalling S$208,000, into her Maybank account to secure the money.

Maybank’s prompt intervention protected the customer and facilitated a coordinated effort with law enforcement to address the issue.

The victim subsequently filed a police report, and Maybank continues collaborating with the ongoing investigation to ascertain the amount and outcome of funds transferred to the scammer’s foreign bank account.

In a similar situation, a UOB staff prevents 80-year-old woman from being scammed $40K by her “grandson”. The incident happened on Oct 9 at the UOB Plaza. With the help of the Singapore Police Force and the National Crime Prevention Council, the man’s fraudulent identity was confirmed and arrested.

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There are 22,339 scam cases reported in Singapore in the first half of 2023, resulting in a total loss of S$334.5 million for victims.

The government official impersonation scam, ranking ninth in prevalence, led with an average loss of approximately S$116,000 per victim.

Globally, scammers siphoned off an alarming S$1.4 trillion between Aug 2022 and Aug 2023, with Singaporean victims experiencing the highest average losses, averaging US$4,031 (S$5,370) per individual. /TISG