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8 people arrested after more than S$60,000 lost in DBS SMS phishing scams

8 people arrested after more than S$60,000 lost in DBS SMS phishing scams

Seven men and one woman, aged between 17 and 33, were arrested for their suspected involvement in a recent DBS phishing scam. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

SINGAPORE: Eight people have been arrested for their suspected involvement in DBS phishing scams that saw more than 60 people lose a total of about S$60,000, the police said on Thursday (Jun 9).

The eight people, aged between 17 and 33, were arrested after an islandwide operation on Wednesday.

Between Jun 5 and Jun 8, the police received reports of the scams. The victims received unsolicited SMSes with tags like “SG-DBS” or “DBS-Notice”, which stated that their cards had been blocked due to unusual activities or that their bank accounts had been frozen due to suspicious activities.

The SMSes then directed the victims to sign in via an embedded link to verify their identity, said the police.

The link redirected the victims to a spoofed Internet banking log-in page, where they would be asked to key in their online banking username and password, as well as bank card details.

They would then be redirected to another spoofed web page, which would request them to key in the One-Time Passwords (OTPs) they received on their mobile phones.

"This compromised their accounts and allowed scammers to siphon off funds, with victims finding out only later that they had fallen prey to the scam," said the police.

Through follow-up investigations and collaboration with DBS Bank, officers from the Commercial Affairs Department established the "beneficiaries of the siphoned-off funds" and arrested them on Wednesday.

The eight suspects are being investigated for cheating or money laundering offences, said the police.

The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. Anyone found guilty of money laundering may be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$500,000 or both.

“The police take a serious stance against any person who may be involved in scams, and perpetrators will be dealt with in accordance with the law," they said. 

"To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile lines as you will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes."

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, DBS reminded its customers to be alert due to an "ongoing and widespread SMS phishing scam".

"DBS will never send you any SMS with clickable links," the bank wrote.

"To safeguard our customers, we may take short term measures to disrupt the scammers and seek your understanding on any potential inconvenience/delay in transactions."

A joint statement by the police and the bank on Wednesday said these short-term measures "may lead to friction or delay to transactions" in order to disrupt the scams and protect customers.

On Sunday, police said that at least 28 victims have lost about S$114,000 since May this year after giving their personal details and OTPs to scammers posing as bank employees.

A recent spate of SMS phishing scams affected hundreds of OCBC Bank customers, with a total of S$13.7 million lost

Source: CNA/lk(mi)

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