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OCBC unveils tighter security measures such as customer notifications for all transactions

SINGAPORE — OCBC bank said it has stepped up its security measures, including initiating transaction notifications for fund transfers through PayNow and inter-bank payments for amounts as low as one cent. 

OCBC unveils tighter security measures such as customer notifications for all transactions
OCBC bank outlined various security measures that it is implementing in the wake of an SMS phishing scam that affected hundreds of its customers.
  • OCBC bank outlined various security measures it is implementing in the wake of an SMS phishing scam that affected hundreds of its customers
  • The measures include transaction notifications for fund transfers through PayNow and inter-bank payments for sums as low as one cent
  • From Jan 31, the bank will introduce a 24-hour cooling-off period for key account changes

SINGAPORE — OCBC bank said it has stepped up its security measures, including initiating transaction notifications for fund transfers through PayNow and inter-bank payments for amounts as low as one cent. 

In a media statement on Friday (Jan 21), the bank also said that it will implement a 24-hour cooling-off period for key account changes from Jan 31. 

The bank has set up a dedicated customer service team, which has been made permanent, to handle customer queries and reports on fraud.

The OCBC hotline (1800 363 3333) also contains a dedicated option for customers to escalate reports of suspected scams, said the bank. 

These changes come after at least 469 OCBC customers were affected by an SMS phishing scam, with losses totalling at least S$8.5 million.

Swindlers had sent out fake bank alerts that spoofed the bank's official SMS channel, duping many of the victims into giving up their personal account information last month.

We will continue in our ongoing efforts to educate and inform customers about scams through multiple channels such as our social media channels, email, SMS, and on our website and mobile banking login pages.
OCBC's media statement

Several victims told TODAY about their shock and distress over the incidents that happened during the year-end holiday period.

OCBC said on Wednesday that it would be making arrangements with all customers who were victims of the recent scam to be fully reimbursed by next week for the money they lost. 

It said on Friday that it had already removed clickable links in marketing emails and SMS messages since Jan 11, and reduced the default daily limit for funds transfer via PayNow from S$5,000 to S$1,000 on Jan 14. 

Customers are also able to adjust it to their needs, to a minimum of S$100. The amount allowed to be transferred per transaction is also reduced from the default of S$1,000 to S$200, said OCBC. 

It had implemented a 24-hour cooling-off period for digital token provisioning on Dec 31 last year. 

Other security measures added included those introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore, which aim to protect account holders from phishing scams. 

Other anti-scam security measures that have been in place for some time are:

  • Allowing customers to adjust their account-to-account and overseas funds transfer limits for online banking, including deactivating funds transfers completely by setting their transfer limit to $0
  • Sending transaction notifications to customers’ existing mobile number or email address registered with the bank whenever there is a request to change their mobile number or email address
  • Not sending SMS messages with links regarding banking transactions

"We will continue in our ongoing efforts to educate and inform customers about scams through multiple channels such as our social media channels, email, SMS, and on our website and mobile banking login pages.

"We would like to again remind consumers to be alert, protect their bank account login credentials, and to only perform banking transactions through the bank’s official website and mobile banking apps," said OCBC. 

Related topics

scam OCBC phishing security digital banking

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