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  Home > Singapore

Bank Staff Among Those Lauded For Help Foiling Scams

Ms Sim Chin Ngui, a customer service manager at OCBC Bank's Toa Payoh branch. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY


 February 4th, 2018  |  11:08 AM  |   685 views



Noticing that the female customer in her late 40s applying for an internet banking token looked anxious and panicky, Ms Sim Chin Ngui, a customer service manager at OCBC’s Orchard Gateway branch, sensed something amiss.


Ms Sim, 58, probed further and found that the woman had been on the line with a man who claimed to be a Chinese Interpol officer investigating an offence he claimed the woman had committed.


In her panic, the woman had given him her bank account number, PIN, passport number and full name.


Hearing this and suspecting that the woman was a scam victim, Ms Sim advised her to make a police report and close her bank account.


“After she came back from the police station, she looked less distressed, and more calm,” said Ms Sim, who then proceeded to help close her account.


Fortunately, no suspicious transactions had been recorded, said Ms Sim, who recounted the incident to reporters on Saturday (Feb 3), after receiving a token of appreciation from the police for her role in foiling the scam.


Thanks to Ms Sim and her colleagues at the bank, the woman’s savings — to the tune of close to S$50,000 — were safe.


The incident also took a turn for the better. “Two days later, the woman returned to our branch, to start a new bank account,” Ms Sim said, beaming.


On Saturday (Feb 3), Ms Sim was among the 34 individuals and 12 organisations presented the tokens by Second Minister for Home Affairs and Manpower Josephine Teo at the Cybercrimes and Anti-Scam Campaign Roadshow.


In its annual crime statistics released on Saturday, the police flagged scams as an area of concern for 2017.


While credit-for-sex scams and China officials impersonation scams have registered drops of 46.3 per cent and 62.9 per cent respectively, there was an increase — by almost 30 per cent — in cases of people getting fleeced by online Casanovas.


The amount cheated in internet love scams also climbed to S$37 million, representing an increase of 54.2 per cent.


Ms Sim’s colleague from the OCBC Tampines branch, Ms Cindy Lim, played a role in foiling one such internet love scam last month.


The victim, a woman in her 20s, had shown the bank teller a message on her handphone, detailing the amount of money to remit, said to be taxes in order for her to receive gifts like luxury bags.


The woman did not know how to fill up the requisite forms to remit S$2,600 and sought the teller’s assistance.


But the sharp-eyed employee noticed a spelling error in the message, and alerted her colleagues.

Ms Lim got wind of the incident, and spoke with the woman.


“First she said the person was her friend’s friend…but later we learnt that they had known each other off Facebook,” said Ms Lim, who also noticed some of the messages contained “sweet nothings”.


She suspected that the woman could be a victim of a suspected love scam, and alerted the bank’s fraud team and the cops.


Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the event, Mrs Teo, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, noted the crucial role the community played in helping to foil scams.


Mrs Teo said that staff members like Ms Sim “are at the frontline… (and) interact with the members of the public to a very large extent”.



courtesy of TODAY



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