Banking industry bands together in combatting financial scams to ensure a safe and secure banking environment

December 13, 2022

Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday, 13 December 2022 – The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) and its council members today announced, during a session with the media, that the banking industry is committed to take a holistic approach towards tackling the concerning trend of financial scams. Measures would include amplifying the education and awareness amongst the public, under the National Scam Awareness Campaign to be more vigilant against financial scams and fraud. The banking industry was represented by:

  • Dato’ Abdul Rahman Ahmad, Chair of the Industry Communications Task Force, ABM Council Member and Group CEO of CIMB Group Holdings Berhad;
  • Dato’ John Chong Eng Chuan, Chair of the Industry Task Force on Measures to Combat Financial Scams and Group CEO of Community Financial Services at Maybank;
  • Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, ABM Council Member and Group CEO of AmBank;
  • Dato’ Omar Siddiq, ABM Council Member and CEO of HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad;
  • En Mohd Muazzam Mohamed, President of Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM) and Group CEO of Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad; and
  • En Jay Khairil Jeremy Abdullah, Vice Chairman of The Association of Development Finance Institutions Malaysia (ADFIM) and Chief Executive of Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN).

The National Scam Awareness Campaign was launched in October 2022, with the tagline “Awas, Fikir, Blok. Ingat 3 Saat OK”. It is an industry wide campaign that aims to educate and empower the public to adopt good online hygiene practices and create awareness of the types of scams. The collective effort will see consistent and frequent communications by the banks across various customer touchpoints to ensure the public remains vigilant of scam tactics and how to protect themselves.

The public is reminded that security is a collective responsibility that requires a one nation approach. The banking industry will continuously undertake efforts on a holistic basis to tackle financial scams through three thrusts, namely Education, Action, and Collaboration. These will focus on creating awareness amongst all stakeholders including the public, accelerating the implementation of the five key measures as announced by Bank Negara Malaysia. The measures, which are progressing well, include:

  • Migrating from SMS One Time Password (OTP) to a more secure authentication method, e.g., via secure multi-factor authentication software or hardware tokens for certain transactions. These transactions include fund transfers and payments, change of personal information (e.g., mobile numbers, postal and email addresses) and account settings (e.g., limits for withdrawals or transfers). Some banks have already largely migrated away from SMS OTP or offer secure alternative authentication methods as recommended by Bank Negara Malaysia since 2019, while other banks are expediting efforts to comply with the latest requirement.
  • Tightening the banks’ fraud detection rules and triggers for the blocking of suspicious transactions. This may result in the banks sending prompts/notifications to customers on unusual activities. The banks may also contact their customers to confirm/ authenticate certain transactions that are flagged as unusual activities.
  • Verification and cooling-off period for first time enrolment of e-banking services or secure device. During this cooling-off period, customers will not be able to perform any online banking transactions.
  • Restrict authentication of electronic banking transactions to one mobile device or secure device per account holder. This means that the banks will allow each account holder to register only one mobile device or secure device for the purpose of authentication of online banking transactions. Alongside this, the banks will strengthen processes to enhance changes to the single device process, such as additional verifications, to ensure that such requests have genuinely been made by the account holder; and
  • Banks will also have 24/7 dedicated complaint channel/hotline for customers to report incidents or suspicions of scam/fraud. A list of ABM member banks’ contact numbers for reporting scam/fraud can be obtained from ABM’s website, In addition, the banks will make available a convenient way for customers to temporarily suspend banking activities for their own bank accounts swiftly if they suspect that their accounts have been compromised, i.e., in the event of a suspected fraud. Customers will also be able to resume service of their accounts after a reasonable timeframe upon validation. This will enable customers to take immediate action to safeguard their own bank accounts should the need arise.

The respective banks will provide updates progressively on the robust measures being rolled out to ensure customers are informed on the steps that are being taken to safeguard themselves, while banking with ease.

The banking industry is committed to work closely with all stakeholders to strengthen the trust and confidence of online banking in Malaysia.

ABM would like to take this opportunity to remind customers of the following online banking safety tips:-

  • Never share your banking credentials;
  • Avoid clicking on links sent via chat messages and emails from unknown sources;
  • Never use unsecured public WiFi connections to perform online banking transactions or electronic payments (e-payments);
  • Only download apps from official/genuine app stores. Never download apps from links sent via chat message or email; and
  • Install and update anti-virus and anti-malware software on devices.

ABM and all member banks would like to take this opportunity to give tribute to the late Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Public Bank Group, who passed away yesterday. A minute of silence was observed at the start of the session in memory of Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh, a titan of the banking industry.

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