SINGAPORE: A total of S$13.7 million was lost in the recent spate of phishing scams involving OCBC Bank, up from the S$8.5 million reported in December, the bank said in an update on Sunday (Jan 30).
It added that the number of customers affected also went up, from 469 to 790, as more victims came forward.
The bank said that the earlier figures were based on the police reports made by victims at the time, and that more reports were lodged and submitted to OCBC in January.
“In addition to those who had made police reports, we also reached out to victims who were not aware they had been scammed. As mentioned previously, more than 200 customers were prevented from falling prey due to our enhanced measures following the initial wave of scams,” OCBC said in a statement.
It added that about 80 per cent of the amount lost occurred over the year-end festive period from Dec 23 to Dec 30.
“During this period, the calls made to the bank’s contact centre surged by over 40 per cent,” said OCBC.
The bank said an investigation had “confirmed that victims who fell prey had provided their online banking log-in credentials and one-time PINs to phishing websites, thereby enabling the scammers to take over their bank accounts and make fraudulent transactions”.
But OCBC said it took the decision to reimburse affected customers in full “as a one-off gesture of goodwill given the circumstances of this scam”.
“We also took into consideration that our customer service and response fell short of our own expectations, that could have affected loss mitigation in some of the cases,” the bank added.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR "GOODWILL PAYOUTS" MADE
Arrangements for all the "goodwill payouts" have been made, the bank said on Sunday.
No further fraudulent transactions in relation to the scams have been made since, OCBC said, adding that it was “committed to ensuring that our customers’ funds remain safe”.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that while the arrangements for all the goodwill payments have been made, OCBC has not completed all the payments yet.