SINGAPORE – Picture this – a man wearing a jacket with your bank’s name on it shows up at your door, says there’s a problem with your account and asks you to give him your details so he can fix the problem.
And all without showing a bank ID or even seeming to know your name.
Almost everyone would view this as a scam and scoff at the idea of handing over important bank details to a guy with “scammer” written all over his face.
Even the idea that a bank would send an employee door to door asking for customer details is absurd in itself. The reality is that no bank would ever approach customers and ask for bank details outside of a branch.
This even applies to online banking.
Do you remember those times when you call the bank for help? They ask for personal information only to verify your identity; the staff does not ask for your account details because a real bank knows everything about you. Only scammers want such information because they don’t know who you are and what accounts you have.
Most people wouldn’t give their bank details to strangers who show up on their doorstep even if they’re wearing a shirt with the bank’s name on it.
But how is it that such vigilance disappears when you receive an SMS or an e-mail inviting you to communicate your bank details by connecting to a site? And instead of wearing a bank’s name on their shirt, online scammers spoof the bank’s name via email messages to say that your account has a problem and you need to enter your account details by clicking the attached link.
The message still doesn’t identify you by name or IC number, and if you stop to think for a moment, why would a bank ask you to log into your account to verify a banking problem when they could solve many such problems come to an end?
Yet dozens of banking customers have fallen victim to such phishing scams, which trick them into parting with critical data by creating fake banking sites. In the latest phishing scam involving OCBC bank customers, 790 of them lost a total of $13.7 million to the crooks.
Such scam tactics have been around for years, so it’s concerning that many of the recent victims are young and tech-savvy; some even worked in tech-related jobs.
Cybersecurity and corporate governance expert Anthony Lim, Fellow at Singapore University of Social Sciences, believes that the widespread use of social media and online services has made many people impatient – they yearn for results. instant because they’re used to getting answered at the touch of their phone.
“It is common knowledge that no bank will ask its customers to log into their accounts via text or email under any circumstances and yet many continue to do so. Scammers rely on their behavior to always click on links without checking and they still succeeded.
“It’s time for all of us to take a step back and take a break…if there seems to be a problem.”
Mr. Lim notes that scammers always use “scare tactics” to trick their victims into doing what they want. Some of these tricks include claims that their accounts have been hacked, loved ones have been injured or kidnapped and, more recently, being in contact with Covid-19 patients.