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Woman lose $4,000 after receiving phishing text message


Ms Kyan Tan, assistant manager in finance industry, after receiving one text message from United Overseas Bank (UOB) last Thursday (i.e. on February 28, 2019) didn't suspect anything because the text message came from same number that UOB had used earlier to send her actual OTPs (One Time Passwords) when she has performed her previous transactions.


The text message claims that to avoid getting her account blocked, she has to click a link for verifying her device. Thus, Ms Tan clicks the link. This mistake has cost her $4,000, as this was a phishing text message.


Ms Tan, aged 32, said to The New Paper on March 4, 2019, that "I thought since it came from the number that UOB always uses, then it must have been legitimate". However, the link in the text message took her to a similar looking UOB iBanking page, where she has signed with all her account details. Soon after, Ms Tan received many messages supposedly sent from the UOB containing numerous One Time Passwords for her, which she needs to enter in the system. Once she keyed the last One Time Password into her token, Ms Tan received a particular set of numbers to enter in the iBanking page.


In just seconds, two new messages were received by Ms Tan which informs her that new payee was added, and the funds transfer by her has been successful. "When I saw those messages, I had a sense that something was very wrong because I never intended to transfer any money," said Ms Tan.


She immediately called her bank, and was told by them that $4,000 was transferred from her account. "I was in shock and disbelief. To find out that you lost $4,000 just like that was painful for me," said Ms Tan. A police report was also lodged by her on that night.


A United Overseas Bank spokesman told The New Paper that UOB is aware of the phishing attempts that are targeting the customers via SMS. The spokesman said: "Upon identification of the phishing attempts, we notified our customers via our mobile banking app, UOB Mighty, and Internet banking, advising them to stay vigilant. We have also posted information on our Facebook page on the matter".


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