DBS ATM Skimmers Strike Again

The three ATM skimming suspects nabbed in Singapore last month had accomplices lurking in the corners, it seems. On 19 February, 17 DBS customers had $23,000 (US$ 18,348) taken from their accounts by the same gang that skimmed almost $1 Million (US$ 773,224) from nearly 700 customers in January.

ATM Machines, DBS Singapore

DBS stemmed the tide of recent skimming incidents due to its latest security measures enacted last month. (Image: Ooi Boon Keong)

DBS Bank released a statement yesterday regarding the incident.

This incident is not a result of any new skimming activity but a residual effect of the same card skimming operation that took place at the end of last year. DBS fully compensated all 17 affected customers a total of SGD 23,000 within 24 hours.

Bank officials enacted new security measures to curb further incidents, such as disabling of ATM card usage overseas, SMS alerts for suspicious overseas transactions and SMS alerts for local withdrawals and payments above a certain threshold. DBS also sent out new cards for customers affected by the January skimming incident, as well as to customers who were at risk.

In the latest incident, the customers were the ones who noticed the unauthorized transactions and called DBS. Apparently the crooks made withdrawals below the predetermined threshold to stay off the radar, but vigilant customers spotted the missing cash from their accounts and informed the bank.

DBS promptly clamped down on the skimmers and disabled the affected accounts. The bank also deactivated “at-risk accounts”.

Based on the Sunday withdrawals, the DBS analytics team identified a further group of customers who were potentially at risk of fraudulent domestic withdrawals. To safeguard them against unauthorised ATM withdrawals, the bank proactively de-activated the cards of this group of customers, and took immediate steps to replace their cards. These customers were also informed of the card de-activation on the same day and new ATM/Debit cards have since been issued to them.

No matter how sophisticated the security measures become, the main line of defense appears to be vigilance, as proven in this case. Cybercriminals can strike your computer, your phone, your tablet as well as your wallet, so always keep passwords secure, check your accounts regularly, and report any suspicious activity as soon as you spot them. That spam email with you as sender means your email account has been compromised. That unauthorized payment for “manhood medication” should be looked into right away — unless you really ordered them. So stay alert, change your passwords regularly, keep your PINs close, and your accounts closer.