More than RM350 million in fraudulent transactions blocked during the first ten months of 2023

January 24, 2024

Banking industry’s robust fraud prevention measures help safeguard customers’ financial wellbeing

Kuala Lumpur, 24 January 2024 – From January to October 2023, thirteen member banks under the ambit of The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) and Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM) have successfully prevented fraudulent transactions worth RM351 million and protected customers from scams. This achievement underscores their unwavering commitment to robust fraud prevention measures, as they remain steadfastly vigilant and proactive in their anti-scam endeavours, most recently highlighted by the launch of the banking industry’s #JanganKenaScam awareness campaign.  The detection and prevention actions by banks saved customers from being defrauded of their funds through various fraudulent schemes such as e-commerce, job application, investment, impersonation as well as phishing scams.

The first National Scam Awareness campaign was launched in October 2022, where banks progressively implemented five key measures propounded by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to combat financial scams. This consisted of migrating from SMS one-time passwords (OTP) to a more secure authentication method; tightening of banks’ fraud detection rules; verification and cooling-off period for first-time enrolment of e-banking services or secure device; allowing only a single mobile device or secure device to be registered; and a 24/7 dedicated complaint channel for customers. Customers and the public at large would have already been also informally invited to join in the crusade against financial scam through messages from banks on cognisance of various types of scam and corresponding scam mitigation actions, through various mass and social media platforms as well as various bank touchpoints.

“The united efforts in creating an environment that is more alert to, and able to avoid scams by ABM and AIBIM reflect the associations’ and member banks’ collective dedication to creating a secure banking environment, where customers can have trust in the safety of their financial transactions. With collaboration and adherence to industry best practices, we aim to fortify the foundations of our banking ecosystem, offering our customers the peace of mind they rightfully deserve,” said Dato’ Khairussaleh Ramli, ABM Chairman.

Dato’ Mohd Muazzam Mohamed, AIBIM President commented, “Through our collective initiatives, customers have also proven to be positively impacted by the banks’ efforts through enhanced security measures in financial fraud prevention – ultimately helping them save significant amounts from being lost to scammers.”

Ms. E, a 45-year old accountant shared a story of how her bank managed to save RM47,000 from being scammed from her account. The story began when a caller from an unknown number claimed to be a bank officer, and mentioned that a transaction had been performed with a credit card issued under her name. Despite the customer’s denial of this transaction, she was requested to lodge a police report over the phone, and was subsequently transferred to Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) Ipoh. The bogus PDRM officer then informed her that an arrest warrant had been issued against her for involvement in criminal activities.

In order to whitelist her name, she was advised to clear out the funds in her account, and transfer it to a given destination account for investigation purposes. The bogus caller promised her that the investigation would take around 3 days, with the funds returned to her in due course. Panicked and scared that she would be detained by the police, the customer performed a transfer of RM47,000 as requested by the bogus caller. She noticed that the funds were not transferred immediately as it was under a ‘cooling-off’ period.

Upon further investigation, and learning that she had been a victim of scam, she immediately contacted her bank to cancel the transaction. The bank’s swift response saved her hard-earned money from being scammed. The customer expressed her appreciation for the bank’s efforts in combating scam through its new security features offered to customers. 

Ms. E said, “Always be cautious with calls from unknown callers. Contact the bank’s call centre should there be any uncertainty.”

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by marketing research company Rakuten Insights conducted in June to July 2023, entitled Banking Industry Public Opinion on Scam, provided interesting insights gleaned from over 1,200 members of the public. The survey highlighted that 63% of Malaysians have links to a scam either directly or indirectly, 17% have been a direct victim of banking or financial scam whereas 46% have not been a victim but know someone who has been victimised. Interestingly, respondents mentioned that 76% of the scam cases they are aware of were due to victims revealing their banking credentials by mistake, allowing scammers to gain access to their finances.

86% of respondents acknowledged receiving messages from banks to be on the alert for banking and financial scams. Across five major banking institutions, an average of 68% of respondents rated the banks’ effort in driving scam awareness as satisfactory, in their combat against fraud and scams. Furthermore, 71% of these respondents do consume and read material from banks’ efforts in alerting and educating about scams. Ultimately most respondents feel that the news and common sense are the most important in identifying scams, while more than 50% mentioned that they feel prepared to handle financial scams. It is noteworthy that the survey found that people who always read and understand bank alerts are 15% more prepared to handle or manage scams compared to the others.

ABM, AIBIM and their member banks will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies and financial regulators including BNM and PDRM as well as Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and stakeholders such as CyberSecurity Malaysia to help spread the message that customers should remain vigilant and exercise caution while conducting financial transactions. ABM and AIBIM urge individuals to report any suspicious activities promptly to their respective banks so that they can take necessary actions. Anyone that is a victim of financial scam can also alert the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) by calling the NSRC hotline at 997.

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