MAS and ABS to Ramp up Digital Banking Security in the Face of Phishing Scams

MAS and ABS to Ramp up Digital Banking Security in the Face of Phishing Scams

by January 20, 2022

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) are introducing a set of additional measures to bolster the security of digital banking.

The regulator has taken a proactive stance in response to the recent spate of SMS-phishing scams targeting bank customers.

OCBC bank were one of those who were affected by the scams and had begun making goodwill payouts to affected customers. MAS is conducting a thorough investigation of the matter and will consider taking supervisory action against the bank.

MAS said in a statement that it expects all financial institutions to have in place robust measures to prevent and detect scams as well as effective incident handling and customer service in the event of a scam.

Banks in Singapore, in consultation with MAS, will work to put in place more stringent measures within the next two weeks. This includes the removal of clickable links in emails or SMSes sent to retail customers and a delay of at least 12 hours before activation of a new soft token on a mobile device.

There will be additional safeguards, such as a cooling-off period before implementation of requests for key account changes such as in a customer’s key contact details.

Moreover, the threshold for funds transfer transaction notifications to customers will be set by default at S$100 or lower.

Banks will continue to work closely with MAS, the Singapore Police Force, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to deal with the influx of these scams.

This includes working on more permanent solutions to combat SMS spoofing, including adoption of the SMS Sender ID registry by all relevant stakeholders.

MAS is also intensifying its scrutiny of major financial institutions’ fraud surveillance mechanisms to ensure they are adequately equipped to deal with the growing threat of online scams.

Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB

Wee Ee Cheong

Wee Ee Cheong, Chairman of The Association of Banks in Singapore said,

“Together with the MAS and ecosystem players, the banking industry will continue to strengthen consumer protection measures.


We also ask that the public stay vigilant given that scams continue to evolve and are executed quickly.”

Ravi Menon

Ravi Menon

Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS said,

“MAS is deeply concerned about the recent spate of scams and the financial losses suffered by victims. The threat of scams will not go away, but we can reduce our vulnerabilities.


This requires a multi-pronged response across the ecosystem. MAS, together with the Police, IMDA and other relevant government agencies, is working closely with the financial industry, the telco industry, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to strengthen our collective resilience against scam attacks.”