UOB staff falls for police impersonation scam, discloses personal info of 1,166 customers

UOB said the information lost comprised customer names, identification and mobile numbers and account balances.

A UOB employee who fell for a police impersonation scam disclosed the personal information of 1,166 of the bank's customers who are China nationals.

The data divulged comprised customer names, identification and mobile numbers and account balances, UOB noted on Friday (May 7).

"Their bank account numbers were not disclosed and our IT systems remain secure," it added.

The employee, who was working in Singapore, has been suspended and is assisting police investigations.

Preliminary findings show that the employee had been deceived into handing the information of these Chinese nationals with Singapore-based accounts to scammers who were impersonating police officers from China.

A UOB spokesman said the bank was not able to disclose any details about when the scam occurred and how the employee had been taken in, as the matter is under police investigation.

Similar cases in the past have involved swindlers claiming to be police officers in China telling victims that their credit or debit card details had been used for fraudulent transactions or that their bank accounts were involved in money-laundering activities.

They were then told to transfer their money for investigations. Some account holders then handed over either their banking credentials or cash to money mules.

UOB said it has written to all affected customers and taken safety precautions such as immediately disabling their Internet and mobile banking access and advising them to reset their digital banking access.

The bank has also stepped up monitoring of the affected accounts and set an SMS alert to notify customers of online fund transfers at $1 or more.

Other precautions include posting scam protection notices on the log-in pages of UOB websites.

"UOB is working closely with the Singapore Police Force on their investigations. We apologise to our customers that this has happened, as we have always made it a priority to keep their data secure," the bank said.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for republication.

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