From iTODAY:Evidence points to card skimming in DBS ATM fraud
Neo Chai Chin | 7 Jan, 2012 11:22 AM
Bugis St ATMs possibly compromised, 400 customers affected, S$500,000 withdrawn
Singapore - As DBS branches and ATMs across the island yesterday saw long lines of anxious customers checking if they were among the hundreds of victims who have had thousands of dollars fraudulently withdrawn from their accounts, the Singapore bank said it was "not aware" of any new cases being reported and believes "the situation has been contained".
At latest count, a total of some 400 POSB and DBS customers holding ATM and debit cards have had about S$500,000 fraudulently withdrawn from their accounts over Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday, the bank assured affected customers that they would be fully compensated by the end of the day.
While investigations are still underway, DBS said in an update yesterday evening "increasing evidence points to the unauthorised withdrawals being part of a card skimming operation".
DBS said preliminary investigations had revealed that two of its ATMs at Bugis Street were likely to have been compromised over three days last November. The transaction patterns of the victims who have reported their cases to the bank showed that a "large majority of these accounts have actually transacted at these ATMs", said Ms Karen Ngui, managing director and head of group strategic marketing and communications.
The bank has since contacted all the 2,726 customers who used the two ATMs during the three days in November and deactivated their cards, it is also having replacement cards issued.
"While investigations are still underway, increasing evidence points to the unauthorised withdrawals as being part of a card skimming operation," said DBS Singapore country manager Sim S Lim. He said DBS knows the locations in Malaysia where the withdrawals were made, and would share them with the police.
The operation took place despite all of DBS ATMs being fitted with anti-skimming devices six years ago, and the ATMs regularly checked by security staff when they replenish the money in the machines.
The Bugis Street ATMs are still in use, as bank staff have checked them and found "nothing to indicate (they are) still being compromised," said Mr Lim.
Card skimming is the stealing of one's personal banking information via a device illegally fitted on an ATM. Along with card fraud - where one's card or card number is used without one's knowledge - and theft of a personal identification number, it is among the most common types of ATM fraud here, according to DBS.
Contacted yesterday, a Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) spokesperson said it has been updated by DBS. "The bank is investigating the matter and MAS will review its investigation report," she said. "In a card skimming operation, there may be unusual installation or fixtures on the ATM machines. Customers should alert their bank immediately if they observe unusual installations or fixtures on the ATM."
Asked what was to prevent the scammers from returning to try their luck again, DBS' Mr Lim said: "I think that given what has happened, we know the amount of precaution and amount of alertness has definitely heightened, not just in DBS but probably in all the banks in Singapore. I think it would be foolish of them to come back to try this again."
DBS continually upgrades its anti-skimming devices - mainly supplied by technology firm NCR. "We continue to keep up with the latest in technology to see how we can continually enhance our security," Ms Ngui said, adding that there was no lapse in security in this case.
DBS has also begun sending SMSes to users with any new ATM transactions in Malaysia - a practice that will go on until further notice.
To handle customers' requests and to cope with the higher pre-Chinese New Year traffic, it has deployed more staff, extended branch hours and increased resources at its contact centres.
Asked why DBS did not send out an alert to its customers about the fraud earlier, Mr Jeremy Soo, managing director and head of the consumer banking group in Singapore, said there could be multiple reasons for fraudulent transactions and the bank needed to establish that it was a systemic problem before taking action.
Meanwhile, other Singapore banks are taking precautionary steps to guard against a similar situation and advised consumers to stay vigilant.
"We will continue to review our security measures regularly to ensure that they are current and effective," said Mr Pranav Seth, head of E-Business at OCBC Bank.
A UOB spokesperson said its existing precautionary measures are regular transaction reviews and inhibitors installed at all its ATMs. "In light of the unfolding situation, the bank has also deployed a team to physically check all its ATMs to ensure that no suspicious devices have been placed on any of our ATMs," she said.
Get iTODAY on your iPhone for free by visiting http://www.todayonline.com/iTODAY/iphone
Sent from my iPhone