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MAS considers action against OCBC for phishing scam

SINGAPORE — Singapore's central bank said on Monday (Jan 17) it will consider supervisory action against the country's second-biggest lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), after hundreds of its customers were hit by a phishing scam last month.

MAS considers action against OCBC for phishing scam

A man walks out of an OCBC Bank branch in Singapore on Oct 8, 2019.

SINGAPORE — Singapore's central bank said on Monday (Jan 17) it will consider supervisory action against the country's second-biggest lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), after hundreds of its customers were hit by a phishing scam last month.

Reported losses from the scam amounted to at least S$8.5 million in December and ensnared at least 469 customers.

"MAS takes a serious view of the recent phishing scams involving OCBC Bank. They have significantly impacted several customers," the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) deputy managing director (financial supervision) Ho Hern Shin said in a statement.

"MAS has been following up with the bank on these and broader issues relating to the incident," she added.

The central bank said OCBC will conduct a thorough probe to identify deficiencies in its processes and implement necessary measures, after which "MAS will consider appropriate supervisory actions".

In a separate statement, OCBC said it was making goodwill payouts to customers hit by the SMS phishing scam after reviewing each case and acknowledged that its incident response and customer service should have been better.

It said the scam was particularly aggressive and highly coordinated, and preyed on people's fear there were issues with their accounts or credit cards.

"MAS expects all affected customers to be treated fairly," said Ms Ho.  

"MAS expects all financial institutions to have robust measures for fraud prevention, detection, and remediation, and to provide prompt assistance to customers who have been victims of scams.  We are working with the Association of Banks in Singapore on industry-wide measures that may need to be taken to ensure that digital banking remains secure, efficient, and trusted.” REUTERS

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