Seoul, South Korea (PressExposure) March 21, 2011 -- By P. ARUNA
PETALING JAYA: Internet users must ensure they install all necessary updates and use a reputable anti-virus software so they don't fall prey to online banking scams.
HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad general manager for personal financial services, Lim Eng Seong, said the number of Malaysians opting for online banking was increasing.
"Most banks offer safety advice on the login page of their e-banking websites to warn users about the existence of such scams," he said.
Whenever there is a report of a scam, the bank immediately contacts Cyber Security Malaysia's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to remove the phishing website.
"For phishing websites operating from outside the country, we seek the assistance of the country's local CERT team to shut down the website," he said.
Travel agent Safura Mokhtar, 41, recently became a victim of a phishing scam. She lost RM4,600 but the local bank refused to offer her a refund although she was quick to report the incident. She had received an e-mail, claiming to be from the bank, in November last year.
"The e-mail stated that I needed to log in immediately to update my contact information for security purposes," said Safura who unsuspectingly clicked on the link provided.
"I am new to online banking and I was not aware that such scams existed," said Safura who later received a text message from the bank informing her that money had been transferred out of her account.
She received a letter from the bank a week later informing her that they could not compensate her for her losses. She was then referred to the Financial Mediation Bureau (FMB) which told her investigations would take up to six months.
"Cases of online banking scams in Malaysia have been increasing since the first such case was registered in 2005," said FMB CEO John Thomas.
Statistics from FMB showed that the number of cases had increased from only 46 in 2008 to 163 in 2010. On the chances of victims getting their money back, Thomas said that of the 163 cases last year, only 51 victims managed to get part or all of their money back. A check with Bank Negara showed that as of December last year, there were 9.8 million e-banking account holders in the country.