StarHub launches policy to help customers deal with e-commerce issues

The policy will also pay for the costs involved in dealing with identity theft and cyber bullying. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Customers who do not receive items they purchase online can tap a cyber protection policy launched by telco StarHub to cover their losses.

Known as CyberCover, the policy will also pay for the costs involved in dealing with identity theft and cyber bullying.

While there are other personal cyber insurance plans, StarHub's initiative, which is underwritten by Chubb Insurance and touted as a first for a telco in Singapore, also covers unauthorised transactions made under payment cards.

"Cybercrimes are on the rise, and as the cases strike closer to home, we want to give our customers peace of mind, knowing that StarHub will be there to help them get back on their feet during difficult times," said Mr Johan Buse, who leads StarHub's consumer business group, in the telco's statement on Friday (Feb 4).

Items purchased online that are not delivered or do not match the seller's description will be covered for up to $750.

The policy will also cover unauthorised transactions made under payment cards such as debit and credit cards, capped at $750 as well.

As for cyber bullying and identity theft, the plan will pay up to $8,500 to cover legal costs and up to $1,000 for counselling fees to help victims deal with trauma.

Victims of identity theft can also claim for costs incurred in recovering their stolen digital identities.

For example, victims can claim up to $1,000 to cover the loss of personal income caused by taking time off from work to restore or rectify records of their identities.

However, StarHub's plan does not cover a person scammed into transferring money from a bank account directly to fraudsters, or those who buy items in return for future commissions or refunds that are never paid out - a common tactic in job scams.

StarHub customers will have to pay $9.99 a month each for coverage. To cover themselves and immediate family members living at the same address, it will cost $12.99 a month.

The cover is renewed on a month-to-month basis, but the limits for claims under the plan is for a rolling period of 12 months.

Chubb's country president for Singapore Kevin Bogardus said there has been an increase in digital consumption amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with users spending more time on social media platforms and engaging more in digital payments.

"As digital footprint goes up, so does the likelihood of cyber-risk exposure," he added.

Personal cyber insurance policies are not new here.

For example, for $107 a year, insurer Etiqa covers costs of up to $25,000 in total for all situations of cyber fraud or extortion, identity theft as well as the restoration of data lost or corrupted by a cyber attack.

American Express - also in partnership with Chubb - offers plans which include coverage of up to $15,000 in legal expenses for situations of identity theft and cyber bullying.

Customers have to pay an annual premium of up to $96 for an individual or up to $144 for a family.

Cybercrimes have been in the news recently.

In a spate of phishing scams targeting OCBC Bank customers which started in December 2021, 790 people lost a total of about $13.7 million.

The bank said last month that it has made arrangements for "full goodwill payouts" with all victims.

Separately, victims lost at least $120,000 in total last month to a scam involving an SMS which claimed there were issues with the recipients' credit or debit cards.

The victims were duped into providing their card details and one-time password in order to "solve" the supposed issues with their cards, said the police in a statement.

Fraudulent transactions were then made on their credit or debit cards.

According to checks by The Straits Times, scam victims have lost more than $965 million since 2016, including a record high of $268.4 million in total in 2020.

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