Banks in Singapore are expected to eliminate clickable links in emails and text messages that are sent to retail clients after a massive spate of SMS phishing scams. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) said that the move, together with many other regulatory measures, will be implemented within the coming two weeks.
Earlier in the week, OCBC Bank said that almost 470 clients lost over $8.5 million in December after thieves posed as the lender and then sent SMS’s with links to phishing sites to the targeted individuals. On January 19, DBS warned its clients about a similar scam where an SMS claiming that it came from the bank informed the victims that their account had been suspended and asked them to click on the provided fictitious links.
OCBC has started to make some goodwill payouts to the victims but the sector is now taking more proactive measures. On top of eliminating the links, banks will set a particular threshold for funds transfer transaction notifications to clients to be set by default at $100 and below.
There will also be a delay of up to 12 hours before the activation of a new soft token on a mobile device, while another notification will be sent to the existing mobile numbers or emails registered with the bank every time there is a request to change an address or a number.