Reply to Parliamentary Question on unauthorised PayNow transactions reported and funds recovered
QUESTION NO 3501
NOTICE PAPER 1390 OF 2022
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 04 October 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Tan Wu Meng, MP, Jurong GRC
To ask the Prime Minister (a) since 2020, how many reports are received by financial institutions or MAS regarding unauthorised PayNow transactions involving consumer banking accounts; (b) what proportion of the cases has the mechanism of unauthorised transaction been established; (c) how do such unauthorised transactions take place; (d) what is the total amount of the unauthorised fund transfers reported and recovered respectively; (e) what is the respective median amounts per affected consumer; and (f) what is being done to better protect consumers.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. According to statistics from the Singapore Police Force, there were 477 cases of banking related phishing scams involving PayNow transactions in 2021, with a median loss of S$3,400. In the first half of 2022, the cases stood at 133 with a median loss of S$1,200. These unauthorised transactions were perpetrated by scammers who had deceived bank customers into giving them their digital banking credentials. The recovery rate for this category of unauthorised transactions, through PayNow specifically, is not available.
2. The two rounds of anti-scam measures announced by MAS and the Association of Banks in Singapore in January and June this year have strengthened safeguards against unauthorised banking transactions, including when such transactions are effected via PayNow. For instance, the default transaction limit set at S$5,000 or lower and the default transaction notification threshold set at S$100 or lower apply to PayNow transactions as well. Banks have also been adapting their anti-scam defences in response to new attack patterns, for instance, by temporarily lowering the PayNow limit to ward off attacks that may be directed at PayNow users. MAS continues to work closely with the industry to review and enhance the suite of anti-scam measures.
3. Consumers need to stay vigilant and remember a few basic rules – (i) do not provide your digital banking credentials to anyone, under any circumstances; (ii) do not click on links purportedly sent by banks, as banks will not send you links in SMS or emails; (iii) use the banks’ official mobile applications for your banking needs to minimise the risk of navigating to fraudulent websites.