Banks should reimburse scam victims, suggests WP’s Sylvia Lim; Govt says it may lead to complacency

8 months ago 70

SINGAPORE - Banks in Singapore should be required by law to fully reimburse scam victims, and in a timely manner without much hassle, said Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim.

But Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan said doing so could erode vigilance and personal responsibility, and lull users into complacency.

Ms Lim was making an adjournment motion speech in Parliament on Monday for the Government to do more to help scam victims.

She suggested the Government consider Britain’s move to force banks to compensate such victims from 2024.

This will apply except in cases where the customer was fraudulent or grossly negligent, or the transaction involved cryptocurrency or international payments.

Ms Lim noted Australia was considering adopting similar measures.

The country’s financial services minister had said its government will ensure banks are accountable for much more.

Ms Lim added that the European Commission has also proposed refunding victims of authorised payment fraud in certain circumstances.

She called the current Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) approach of holding bank customers responsible for their proportion of the loss inadequate and unjust.

This is because consumers are not sufficiently equipped to combat scams, she said.

Ms Lim added that as banks are best positioned and the best resourced, they should take the lead in fighting scams.

She said: “Banks should take on an outsized role in preventing them. Banks are able to monitor transactions, block suspicious payment flows and keep abreast of the latest technological developments. Such endeavours are beyond the remit of most bank customers.”

She suggested mandatory reimbursements implemented here could cover all transfers between banks in Singapore via PayNow and Fast (Fast And Secure Transfers).

Ms Lim added: “Like the UK system, it could be scoped to protect customers who are consumers, small business and chari...

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