Nearly 470 people in Singapore had fallen victim to phishing scams involving OCBC Bank since the beginning of December with losses estimated at at least S$8.5 million, S$2.7 million of which was lost last weekend alone, the Straits Times reports.
The report quoted a press statement by the police in the city-state who said that a large part of the losses occured over the past two weeks.
OCBC meanwhile said it had seen a sharp rise in the number of “smishing” or phishing via SMS scams impersonating the bank.
In a statement on Dec 23, it said members of the public had received unsolicitated SMSes purportedly from the bank claiming that there were issues with their bank accounts or credit cards.
It said the SMSes contained a link to a fraudulent website disguised as a legitimate bank site requesting for banking information and passwords.
“In the last week alone, OCBC Bank has received more than 20 times the average number of customers contacting the bank relating to such scams,” it said.
Adding that it was working with the Singapore police to help customers recover their funds, it nonetheless warned that once the money has left the customer’s account, the possibility of recovery is very low.
“OCBC Bank will try its best to recover the funds for customers, but the first and strongest line of defence to combat scams lies with customers taking precaution to protect themselves from falling prey to fraudsters,” it said.
For the month of December up until that point, it said it had detected and initiated the takedown of 45 phishing websites – about eight times more than the average takedown requests every month.