Independent Consultant Recommends OCBC Use More Surveillance Data to Fight Scams


SINGAPORE: An independent consultant has recommended OCBC Bank to leverage data more and take “a more integrated approach” to tackling fraud and scams, after a review of the bank’s processes.

OCBC has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers Risk Services to conduct a “special review” of its fraud monitoring systems and management processes after nearly 800 of its customers fell prey to SMS phishing scams involving the bank l ‘last year. The independent review, which also included recommendations for improvement, has been completed.

“These recommendations include increased use of data for monitoring and taking a more integrated approach to our fight against fraud and scams,” Group Chief Executive Helen Wong told the annual shareholders meeting. of the bank which was held virtually on Friday (April 22).

Total losses from the scam amounted to S$13.7 million. OCBC made “full goodwill payments” to all victims – a move Singapore’s second-biggest bank described as a “one-off move” given the circumstances of the scam.

Ms Wong said the phishing scam was “unprecedented” and showed “a realism not seen in previous scams”, but there was no evidence of any compromise in the bank’s systems.

Still, the bank has taken several steps to improve customer confidence. These include strengthening its existing fraud monitoring, prevention and controls, setting up a dedicated customer service hotline and a fraud victim care team , as well as increased communication with customers on scam prevention.

OCBC also rolled out a “kill switch” in February that would allow customers to freeze their bank accounts in an emergency.

“We have and will continue to work with all parts of the ecosystem…to provide safe and seamless interaction with our customers,” Ms. Wong said.

In a separate filing Wednesday with the exchange to respond to “substantial and relevant questions” submitted by shareholders ahead of the annual general meeting, OCBC said it “did not experience an increase in cash outflows from customers” following the SMS phishing attack.

“Our reviews indicated that client cash outflows during this period were in line with trends from previous years,” he added.

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