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FAQ: Are your fixed deposit accounts safe from scammers?

How do I “lock” my fixed deposit account?

In November, DBS, OCBC and UOB announced their money-locking features for customers to guard against scams.

Customers can lock up their funds using their app or internet banking, and these funds can only be unlocked in person at bank branches. OCBC customers can also use ATMs to do so.

DBS

DBS’ feature, called digiVault, enables customers to lock up their money digitally in a designated account, from which funds cannot be digitally transferred out.

To access the funds in the vault, they will need to visit a DBS or POSB branch to verify their identity. Once verified, the funds will be transferred to their DBS or POSB account. Closing the vault account will also need to be done at a branch.

DBS customers also have the option to lock up their fixed deposit accounts. Once locked, it prevents any premature digital withdrawals or changes to maturity instructions.

“This reduces the risk of scammers prematurely withdrawing fixed deposit funds digitally, should they gain unauthorised access to customers’ phones and accounts,” said DBS.

Those who want to do so can use the bank’s digibot, which is on its website. They will be prompted to authenticate their request.

To unlock the fixed deposit, they will have to visit a bank branch.

OCBC

OCBC customers who wish to lock their funds can use its Money Lock feature, which can be activated through the app or internet banking.

Customers can lock up funds in multiples of S$10, with the maximum amount being the available balance in the bank account and the minimum being S$10.

Funds can only be unlocked at OCBC ATMs or when customers visit a bank branch.

In response to CNA’s queries, Beaver Chua, head of anti-fraud at the bank’s group financial crime compliance, said that its Money Lock security feature will be extended to fixed deposits by the first quarter of 2024.

This allows customers to ringfence an amount from their account balances that cannot be digitally transferred out, he said.

“It empowers our customers to take control of their funds, limiting their risk exposure even if their bank account login credentials fall into the wrong hands,” Mr Chua said.

UOB

UOB customers can open new LockAway accounts that do not allow digital payments and outbound transfers.

Customers can only access their locked-up funds by visiting UOB bank branches and verifying their identity.

LockAway accounts can be opened digitally on the bank’s website, app, or at its branches.

Fixed deposits with UOB cannot be withdrawn online and can only be prematurely withdrawn by the customer in-person at the bank branches.

A UOB spokesperson told CNA that the bank has “progressively introduced various security controls and measures” to safeguard against the increasing number of scam cases reported in Singapore.

These include an enhanced security feature to disrupt digital banking when unauthorised or risky apps are detected, and SMS notifications when new payees are added.

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