Some SMS scam victims receive goodwill payments from OCBC but cannot disclose amounts

The bank also said it has been doing so since Jan 8, and that more than 30 customers have received the payments so far. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Two OCBC Bank customers who lost money in the recent spate of SMS scams have confirmed with The Straits Times that they have received goodwill payments from the bank.

But they declined on Tuesday (Jan 18) to reveal details of the payouts, citing a non-disclosure agreement they had signed.

This comes after OCBC said on Monday that it had been making goodwill payments to affected customers.

The bank also said it has done so since Jan 8, and that more than 30 customers have received the payments so far.

"The payouts to this group of customers are made on a goodwill basis after thorough verification, taking into account the circumstances of each case," it said, adding that affected customers will be contacted as soon as the review and validation process for their cases is completed.

The bank did not reveal how much it has paid out or if it intends to fully compensate every victim.

It is believed that the two victims who spoke to ST on Tuesday are among the first batch of customers to have received the payouts.

When asked by ST on whether they were satisfied with the payments, they declined to comment.

Other victims told ST that their cases with OCBC are still pending.

John (not his real name) said he had called the bank on Jan 14, but it was unwilling to discuss the goodwill payment as investigations had not concluded.

“I have yet to receive a call from them this week as well (and) may call them,” added John, who is in his 20s and works in the tech industry. He and his wife lost about $120,000 to the scam.

Nearly 470 OCBC customers lost at least $8.5 million in December last year to the phishing scams.

Some victims have lost life savings built up over the years for their families.

In a letter to ST's Forum page published on Jan 15, ST reader Siti Raudhah Mohd Ali said she lost $100,000 in just a few minutes.

Another victim - the father of a young child with special needs - had earlier told ST that he lost about $250,000 he had been saving since 2010.

The loss had been devastating and he had been hiding it from his family, he had added.

"It's a horrible situation that impacts my whole life," the 38-year-old software engineer had said then.

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