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OCBC alerts public on rising phone scams

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 11:59
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OCBC Bank said on Monday there has been a sharp rise in the number of calls received from its customers and the public related to phone scams impersonating the bank over the past few weeks.

OCBC Bank said on Monday there has been a sharp rise in the number of calls received from its customers and the public related to phone scams impersonating the bank over the past few weeks.

From July 1 to 17 alone, the bank received 1,081 such calls, a massive jump from just 16 in April. To-date, it has received more than 1,200 calls on the matter.

Typically, in a phone scam individuals receive an automated voice call prompting a response. These calls have impersonated courier companies and, in an evolving modus operandi, have also claimed to be from banks including OCBC.

The caller's number is either a truncated 6 to 7-digit number that looks like it is originating from outside Singapore, a private number (no caller ID shown) or, in some cases, a number that may even appear as OCBC Bank's official contact number (+6563633333) or some variation of it (for example, 06563633333).

After following the instruction to key in a number, the individual would be transferred to a Mandarin-speaking person with a non-local accent. This person would ask for the individual's personal or banking information including name and NRIC, contact details, account number, account balance, credit card number and the three-digit CVV number found on the back of the card as well as the serial number of hardware token in cases involving installation of certain mobile applications.

"OCBC stresses that the bank does not initiate automated voice calls that require an interactive response," the bank stressed.

Also, when initiating communications with customers and members of the public, OCBC adopts English as it is the primary business language, unless the customer indicates a preference for another language to be used, the bank said.

OCBC said the bank may pose questions to customers to verify their identity, but these would never be questions related to security information such as PIN number, token number, credit card CVV number and account numbers.

"OCBC Bank will not request the customer to make any funds transfer to another bank account. All funds transfers are initiated by customers," it said.

OCBC advised those who receive such dubious calls to terminate the call and contact the bank at 1800 363 3333 (+65 6363 3333 if overseas) to verify.