Malaysians urged to be on alert to not fall victim to financial fraud


BANK Negara Malaysia (BNM) urges banks in Malaysia to adopt high standards of security, especially for Internet and mobile banking services.

BNM governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus (picture) stated that from time to time, the central bank will issue security advisories to the financial industry, highlighting the latest modus operandi (tactics) of scammers and additional security measures that banks need to implement to protect their customers’ savings — seeing that the methods used by criminals will continue to evolve.

“Financial institutions are required to migrate from SMS One Time Passwords (OTP) to more secure forms of authentication for online activities or transactions relating to account opening, fund transfers and payments, as well as changes to personal information and account settings. The major banks have already started this process of migrating to more secure forms of authentication.

“Financial institutions will further tighten fraud detection rules and triggers for blocking suspected scam transactions. Customers will be immediately alerted when any such activity involving their banking accounts is detected.

“As an additional measure, financial institutions will block such transactions, and customers will be asked to confirm that such transactions are genuine before they are unblocked,” Nor Shamsiah said in her statement this morning at the launch of the Financial Crime Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

She added that a cooling-off period will be observed for the first-time enrolment of online banking services or secure devices. During this time, no online banking activity is allowed to be conducted.

Customers will be restricted to one mobile or secure device for the authentication of online banking transactions; as well as financial institutions will be required to set up dedicated hotlines for customers to report financial scam incidents.

Financial institutions have been directed to be more responsive to scam reports lodged by customers. Financial institutions have also been directed to facilitate efforts to recover and protect stolen funds, including working with relevant agencies to prevent further losses.

“Furthermore, financial institutions are required to provide convenient ways for customers to suspend their bank accounts if they suspect that their accounts have been compromised as a result of a scam.

“Customers will also be able to subsequently reactivate their accounts after a reasonable period to ensure that their accounts are secure,” she said.

The virtual exhibition was also jointly officiated by IGP Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

Nor Shamsiah also emphasised that the central bank will work together with the police, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre to further elevate the Commercial Crime Investigation Department’s Scam Response Centre as a more systematic information sharing platform that will enable quicker action to prevent further losses.

Moreover, cooperation from MCMC, third-party service providers (telecommunication companies) and tech platforms (social media, e-commerce) will also be key to preventing these services from being abused for scams.

In combating the scam and protecting oneself from falling victim, the governor highlighted three steps called 3S — Spot, Stop and Share.

The 3S concept is also in line with the theme of the virtual exhibition which is “Semak Sebelum Diperdaya (Check Before You’re Tricked)”. This exhibition can be accessed through the website of the Museum and Art Gallery of Bank Negara Malaysia at

Meanwhile, Acryl Sani said the ability of cybercriminals to exploit technological changes and creatively trap victims with a variety of new modus operandi, paired with only a moderate level of public awareness on cybercrime are among the reasons for increasing cases.

“Therefore, the police see the need to disseminate as much knowledge as possible to the community so they can avoid becoming victims of such criminal activities,” he added.

Malaysians are advised to be extra cautious on the financial fraud that has been going on frequently these days. Of all the financial scams out there, five which are common cases in Malaysia currently include phone or Macau scams, bank loan scams, money mule, web or SMShing scams, as well as malware or Android Package Kit scams.

At the end of the day, the victim is always responsible for their own bank account — nobody else has the right to access one’s bank credentials.

To avoid falling victim to said scams — the public is urged not to trust any offer that is too good to be true, not to click on any link in the email allegedly sent by the bank and delete the email and do not share account or bank card information or transactions.

The thing that helps to identify if the situation is a scam or not is that the authorities will never call first to arrest the criminal, therefore the public needs to immediately end the call.

Various government agencies can help if the public has questions or wants to make a complaint about scams — among them are BNM, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Malaysia, the Companies Commission of Malaysia, the Securities Commission of Malaysia and the police.

However, if an individual has fallen victim to the scheme, they are advised to lodge a report to the bank, contact the scam response centre/telelink and lodge a police report.