3 Suspects Nabbed in S$1M DBS ATM Fraud

Singapore Police cast a dragnet over the island and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) tagged 3 suspects in the recent weeks’ DBS skimming incident. Loke Siew Fei, H’ng Gaik Chin and Chin Yew Pong were charged over the weekend with possession of equipment for replicating ATM cards. Loke and H’ng were nabbed in an early evening raid on a Geylang hotel Thursday last week, while Chin was included in the charge on Saturday. Loke and H’ng were found with a green plastic ATM card slot replica, a thin grey metal panel with a pinhole camera, a USB port, a laptop, and other electronics paraphernalia.

ATM skimming tools found on 2 suspects believed linked to the DBS ATM fraud 4 -5 January, 2012

Suspected ATM Skimming Tools

DBS revealed last week that it reimbursed almost S$ 1 Million (US$ 773,224) to 696 affected customers, almost twice the amount and customer tally of the initial reports. The bank also announced new security measures to protect customers from similar incidents.

For added security, with immediate effect, DBS/POSB ATM/ Debit card-holders who have not used their cards outside Singapore, since 1 July 2011, will not be able to make ATM cash withdrawals overseas unless the bank is otherwise instructed. In other words, this group of customers who historically only used their ATM/ Debit cards locally, will now have to inform the bank should they want to make cash withdrawals overseas.

With effect from Tuesday, 17 January 2012, customers who have chosen to enable their cards for overseas use will also receive a real-time SMS alert confirming their request.

The bank already implemented SMS alert functions for overseas transactions that reach a pre-defined limit, as well as for particular local cash withdrawals. DBS/POSB also revealed that the two ATMs hacked into by the skimmers did not have the “jitter” function deployed in the card receiving slot. This function would have made card skimming difficult because customer cards would be shaken during entry and exit from the slot. Existing security measures on ATMs include the surveillance camera, flashing and  translucent card slots, as well as the card-shaking entry and exit function. DBS said different ATMs have varying security features enabled due to the machine type and location.

Singapore netizens reacted to this statement from the bank.

How can DBS make such a statement that only some ATMs are fully secured sometime(s). So it depend(s) on the users luck when using the ATMs if it has all the security features turned on?

It now falls on every ATM user to be vigilant of the machines they use. Users should visually inspect the ATM for the proper security options — the flashing card slot lights; presence of new or suspicious attachments near or above the keypad; and the card-shaking in the slot whenever they put in and take out their ATM cards. It is still a good idea to cover  one’s hand when keying in the PIN, and to retain transaction receipts. DBS bank advocates regular changing of one’s PIN for further safety. Some users tend to become complacent — especially if they are in a hurry, or when the ATM queues get too long.