Let us expose this new SMS scam, so you won’t fall for it. Make sure you share this information with your family and friends!
The Public Bank SMS Scam
Last week, many people started receiving an SMS from the 63001 messaging service, claiming that their credit card was just charged for a sum of RM 3,409.
Most people won’t notice that the message said “P.B.B.“, not the usual PBB. Whether they have a Public Bank credit card with the last four number of 8836 does not matter. Either way, they are hoping that you will call the number 1800816112, which looks convincingly like a legit contact centre number.
After you call them, they will try to get your personal information, like your MyKad number, your telephone number, and the answers to your bank verification questions. They will then use this information to siphon money from your account.
Or they could try to convince you to transfer your money to their account for “safe holding”, while a fake police officer investigates this fake transaction.
Note : Public Bank says, in addition to this SMS, scammers are also calling people up directly.
The Public Bank SMS Scam Exposed
In the course of our investigation, we called the SMS scam number many times. They seem to be using a subpar VOIP service that does not always connect, and even when it does, they sound faint or garbled. But we managed to talk to two of the scammers – a Ricky Cheah, and a Mohammad Faizal. Here is the audio recording of the two exchanges we had with them.
They convincingly used a copy of the Public Bank’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. However, careful listening will reveal that option 3 is missing, and there is no language option. The IVR system also does not work properly, failing more than half the time we tried.
No matter what option you choose, you will be redirected to a customer service officer. Unlike real bank officers, these scammers do not sound professional. Ricky Cheah, for example, keeps referring to the customer as “Mister”. A real bank officer would first ask for your name, so he/she can address you properly.
Both of them also do not bother to ask for the full credit card number, which they would need to verify the identity of the caller, and to look into their account details. That’s because they already know it’s a fake number.
This is nothing more than a scam to defraud you of your money. If you received this message, just ignore it. But make sure you alert your family and friends about this fraud.
That’s Not A Public Bank Number
The toll-free number 1800816112 in the SMS scam is NOT a Public Bank number. The actual contact number for Public Bank’s customer service centre is 03-2179-5000. For your reference, we create this table of the official customer service numbers for the major banks in Malaysia.
|Bank||Customer Service Number||Credit Card Center Number|
|03-2028 6300 (After Office Hours)|
1800-82-1010 (Sabah & Sarawak)
|Hong Leong Bank||03-7626-8899|
|Standard Chartered Bank||1-300-888-888|
07-2881-121 (Johor Bahru)
088-477-121 (Kota Kinabalu)
|03-2612-8080 (Platinum Card)|
Public Bank Confirms It Is An SMS Scam
We spoke to Ms. Sugu and Pn. Safinah from the real Public Bank Customer Service about this SMS scam. They confirmed that this is a new scam targeting Public Bank customers. Here is a summary of what we discussed :
- They have been aware of this scam since Friday, 24 November 2017.
- A valid Public Bank SMS would just state PBB, not P.B.B.
- Public Bank does not have a toll-free line, so the number 1800816112 is false.
- In addition to sending these SMSes, these scammers are also calling people up, claiming to be from Public Bank.
- If a genuine Public Bank officer calls you about a potentially fraudulent transaction, they will not ask you for your details (because they already have them!).
- An genuine transaction verification call would go something like “[Your Name], I’m calling from Public Bank. Did you use your credit card at [This Place] at [This Time]?“
Share & Warn Everyone!
This scam has the potential to cost the victim thousands of ringgit. So please warn your family and friends about this SMS scam. Share this article as widely as possible.
And if you receive a similar SMS or call, please report it to Public Bank, Bank Negara and the police.
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