One of the Singapore People’s Party’s (SPP) candidates who contested in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in the 2015 General Election, Abdillah Zamzuri, is among the victims of the recent series of fraudulent iTunes charges.
The fraudulent bank activity has impacted dozens of individuals who have accounts in several local banks, such as DBS, OCBC, UOB, Maybank and Standard Chartered. In some cases, the victims lost thousands of dollars in fraudulent iTunes purchases before their debit or credit cards were blocked.
One 25-year-old DBS account-holder lost nearly S$5,000 before her card was blocked while a 37-year-old IT consultant had over a thousand dollars stolen through multiple fraudulent transactions, from his Maybank account.
It is believed that these victims could have had their confidential details like e-mail addresses, credit card details, user names and passwords leaked from third-party websites that sell stolen details or through direct phishing, where users are tricked into inputting their personal information into fake websites.
To avoid detection, scammers make repeated transactions in small amounts to an app they are associated with. Mr Abdillah, a training company manager, lost S$850 after his DBS account was wiped out leaving him with just S$25.
He recounted on Facebook, yesterday (7 May): “This Ramadan started with a huge test of finances. Received a text from DBS few days ago with regards to a card being blocked. A card that I don’t have with me, that I don’t even know where it went. Turns out, the individual cleared out my entire bank account leaving me with just $25.”
Mr Abdillah had reserved the amount in his DBS account to pay his bills and to pay for food, family expenses and for small emergencies that could happen from time to time. Noting that the sum he lost was significant to him, he wrote:
“I was shocked to hear when I called in to DBS and was informed that 9 transactions on iTunes were done using that card and the total amount came up close to $850/-
“While the amount may be considered small for some, it may also be considered significant for those who do not earn much. For me, having used to have only $50 in my bank account at one point of time, this was huge to me.”
Still managing to see the bright side in the situation, Mr Abdillah wrote that he is “grateful and thankful” that he does not need money to pay for lunch during the Ramadan season.
He, however, expressed his frustration at the fact that his hard-earned money was used on something as frivolous as iTunes: “Whilst I would have been more forgiving if the person had used my card to buy groceries or food for his/her family, I am absolutely dissatisfied at how it has been spent on iTunes.”
Mr Abdillah has flagged the matter to DBS and is waiting for the bank to conclude their investigations.
DBS assured account holders that it constantly monitors transactions in real-time for suspicious activity and that revealed that “customers who report unauthorised transactions receive temporary credit within 14 days” during investigations.
A spokesperson said: “Banking security is of foremost concern to us and we constantly monitor credit/debit card transactions in real-time for any suspicious activities. Customers who report unauthorised transactions receive temporary credit within 14 days while we investigate.
“We urge customers to call us immediately at 1800 111 1111 if they notice any suspicious or unusual activity in their accounts.”