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Card fraudsters strike DBS customers again

Singapore bank says S$23,000 stolen from 17 customers in another round of unauthorized card withdrawals, but maintains latest breach part of same card-skimming syndicate identified end of last year.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

SINGAPORE--DBS Bank has again been hit by another round of unauthorized ATM withdrawals, following the first case of overseas ATM withdrawals which affected hundreds of customers and saw S$1 million stolen last month.

In a statement released Thursday night , the Singapore bank on Feb. 19 received calls from customers here who were alerted to unauthorized ATM withdrawals after they received real-time SMS alerts, informing them of the withdrawals. This time, 17 customers were affected and some S$23,000 were lost.

DBS, however, said the latest breach was not a result of new skimming activities but "a residual effect of the same card-skimming operation" that occurred last year.

The bank added it fully compensated all affected customers within 24 hours and were working closely with the authorities on the investigation. It also confirmed there had been no unauthorized withdrawals made in Singapore over the past few days.

Based on the Feb. 19 withdrawals, DBS added that its analytics team identified another group of customers who potentially had been at risk of fraudulent domestic withdrawals. To safeguard them against such risks, the bank said it deactivated the cards of these customers and took immediate steps to replace them. Customers were also informed of the card deactivation on the same day, and new ATM and debit cards had since been issued.

Last month, about S$1 million were stolen from the accounts of 700 DBS and POSB customers based on ATM withdrawals made in Malaysia. Two men had since been charged for owning possessing skimming equipment to make false ATM cards.

At IDC's Asian Financial Services Congress 2012 held here yesterday, Tony Chew, director and special adviser of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), warned that payment card fraud was one of the top threats faced by banks. He also predicted that 2012 will be "the year of ATM skimming", basing his statement on last month's  's     unauthorized withdrawals from DBS and POSB accounts. 

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