Sharp rise in phone scams impersonating OCBC, says bank

An OCBC Bank branch at Paya Lebar Square. OCBC Bank has advised customers and the general public to be on the lookout after a sharp rise in phone scams impersonating the bank in recent weeks.
An OCBC Bank branch at Paya Lebar Square. OCBC Bank has advised customers and the general public to be on the lookout after a sharp rise in phone scams impersonating the bank in recent weeks.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - OCBC Bank has advised customers and the general public to be on the lookout after a sharp rise in phone scams impersonating the bank in recent weeks.

In a media release on Monday (July 18), OCBC said it received 1,081 calls from July 1-17 from customers and the public on the matter - compared to 16 for the whole of April.

To date, more than 1,200 calls have been received on the issue, it said.

OCBC said the phone scam typically begins with an individual receiving an automated voice call which prompts for a response.

These calls, it noted, have impersonated courier companies and banks.

The caller's number is either a truncated six- or seven-digit number that looks like it originates from outside Singapore, a private number (no caller ID shown), or in some cases, may even appear as OCBC's official contact number (+65 63633333) or some variation of it (e.g. 065 63633333).

Upon following the instruction to key in a number, the individual would be transferred to a Mandarin-speaking person with a non-local accent, OCBC said.

This person would ask for the individual's personal or banking information including their account number and contact details.

OCBC stressed that it does not initiate automated voice calls that require an interactive response.

It said that English is used as the primary form of communication, unless a customer has shown or indicated a preference for a different language.

While OCBC may pose questions to customers to verify their identity, they would not be related to security information such as PIN and account numbers.

OCBC said that customers will not be requested to make any funds transfer to another bank account.

If in doubt over a call's authenticity, customers are advised to terminate the call and then contact OCBC at 1800 363 3333 (+65 6363 3333 if overseas) to verify.