OCBC begins making ‘goodwill payouts’ to scam victims, says response fell short of expectations

3 months ago 35

SINGAPORE: OCBC said on Monday (Jan 17) that it has begun making “goodwill payouts” to customers who had fallen prey to recent phishing scams involving the bank.

"The payouts to this group of customers are made on goodwill basis after thorough verification, taking into account the circumstances of each case," the bank said in a media release.

"Customers started receiving the goodwill payouts from Jan 8, 2022, and to date, more than 30 customers have received them."

OCBC did not specify the size of the payouts or whether affected customers would receive full compensation for the amount they lost. CNA has contacted the bank for more information.   According to the police, at least 469 people had fallen victim to the SMS phishing scams involving OCBC in December. The victims reportedly lost at least S$8.5 million in total.

The scams happened when the bank’s customers received unsolicited SMSes claiming that there were issues with their banking accounts, asking them to click on a link to resolve the issue.

Upon clicking, victims would be redirected to a fake website that mirrored OCBC's and asked to key in their ibanking account login details. They would find out they had been scammed when they received notifications informing them of unauthorised transactions charged to their bank accounts.

"This scam was particularly aggressive and highly coordinated," OCBC said on Monday. "It also preyed on people’s fear that there was an issue with their bank accounts or credit cards."

OCBC said its investigation confirmed that victims had provided their online banking log-in credentials to the phishing websites, allowing scammers to transfer monies out of customers’ bank accounts in a quick manner.

The bank added that it has since set up a dedicated support team for the victims and has reached out to those affected to address their concerns.

The lender also acknowledged that its customer service and response has fallen short of customers’ expectations, especially at a time of stress and anxiety.

OCBC’s group chief executive officer Helen Wong said: “We strongly condemn this scam as it preyed on consumers’ fear and was a highly-coordinated one. We fully understand the concerns and anxiety o...

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