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OPINION

DBS turns to Kim Huat in scam battle

Singapore’s DBS has unleashed an unlikely new weapon against impersonation scams: a strange blue-haired man called Kim Huat.

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Somewhat ironically for the world’s best digital bank, DBS is powerless to deal with a slew of automated impersonation calls which besiege Singaporeans most days. DBS is not the only institution affected – the Ministry of Health is the most popular target of the moment – but it is by far the most affected bank.

You know the drill: you pick up the phone to an unfamiliar number, and a recorded voice says something like, “this is DBS bank, your account has been locked due to suspicious activity, press 1 to unlock,” and if you do so, you’ll be asked for your password.

It is a big problem but, with the calls originating outside Singapore (though usually disguised with a +65 country code number), there is little that can be done about it domestically. Therefore, one can rely upon Singapore to come up with a somewhat twee solution.

It has become clear, particularly through the pandemic, that it is important to reach into the heartlands

DBS account holders have been sent emails under the title: “Impersonation scams attack! What should you do?” To which the answer is, the email says: “Spot and stop with Singapore’s No.1