DBS Foundation Ramps Up Efforts to Combat Rising Threat of Scams

SINGAPORE, 19 February 2024 – In a bid to combat the rising menace of digital scams, DBS/POSB and DBS Foundation are intensifying their initiatives to protect the community while empowering individuals with the necessary knowledge and resources to navigate safely in the online realm. This comprehensive approach entails a collaborative effort with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) to develop an anti-scam quiz, aimed at keeping users abreast of the latest scam tactics. Moreover, the institutions are amplifying their public education and outreach endeavors to raise awareness. Concurrently, they are dedicated to bolstering the bank’s security protocols, thereby granting customers greater autonomy over the safety of their financial assets.

In response to the ongoing prevalence of scams and fraud in Singapore, this heightened endeavor represents a significant contribution to the national campaign against such illicit activities. Building upon the foundation of the bank’s existing anti-scam initiatives, this concerted effort adopts a multi-faceted strategy encompassing self-managed security controls, educational programs, fraud monitoring, authentication measures, as well as support and recovery services. Notably, the bank reports that more than a million customers have already availed themselves of its self-managed security controls to fortify their defenses against scams. Looking ahead, the institution aims to double this figure within the next 12 months, underscoring its commitment to safeguarding its clientele from online threats.
Mr Han Kwee Juan, Acting Chief Information Officer and Singapore Country Head, DBS, said: “In today’s dynamic scam environment, digital literacy and anti-scam education go hand in hand. To protect our customers against scams, we want to empower them with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the digital landscape safely and confidently. This includes keeping them informed of the latest scam developments and equipping them with a robust suite of security tools to protect themselves. We are glad to be working with like-minded partners like IMDA and CSA to intensify our efforts in scaling anti-scam awareness and education in the community. Together, we strive to keep our customers safe as they enjoy the convenience of going digital.”

Equipping all with the know-how to stay on top of scams 

As part of efforts to ramp up awareness and readiness against scams, DBS Foundation partnered the CSA to co-launch a new anti-scam quiz in September 2023. This was specially designed to assess and enhance the community’s scam quotient, especially seniors, by testing their understanding of phishing and other types of online scams, and arming them with tips to protect themselves. 82% of the 3,200 participants who took the quiz shared that they felt more confident about banking digitally afterwards.  

DBS Foundation aims to widen access to this quiz to some 30,000 people over the next year. This will be done by integrating the quiz into the curriculum for all digital literacy workshops under the DBS Foundation X Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) partnership, and engagements with seniors at all SG Digital Office (SDO) outlets island-wide. DBS Foundation also plans to avail the quiz at DBS/POSB branches and via its network of community partners and social service agencies, such as Lions Befrienders. 

Ms Phua Puay Li, Senior Director (Policy and Corporate Development) of CSA, said: “It is important for the community to keep up to date with the latest scam information and the ever-changing tactics of cybercriminals. Cybersecurity is a team effort. We value the collaboration with partners like DBS Foundation to co-develop educational resources for the community, including our seniors, to equip them with the know-how to protect what is valuable to them.”

Dialling up public education and outreach efforts 

DBS Foundation’s strategic collaboration with the IMDA – which was inked with the collective aim of driving digital inclusion in Singapore, as part of the national Digital for Life (DfL) movement – serves as a key touchpoint to drive anti-scam education in the community. The partnership recently hit its one-year milestone, and has exceeded the halfway mark of its target of reaching 100,000 beneficiaries. With the support of some 700 DBS/POSB employee volunteers, over 400 digital literacy workshops have been conducted as of January 2024, benefitting more than 60,000 people.  

DBS Foundation will continue to work with IMDA to scale these digital literacy workshops to more neighbourhoods, as well as explore new formats to better engage the community. The digital literacy workshops are aligned with the Digital Skills for Life framework, introduced by IMDA in January 2024, which is a set of five baseline digital competencies to equip all Singaporeans to carry out daily tasks online. Singaporeans can also pick up digital skills under the DSL framework through resources available on IMDA’s DfL portal. 

Ms Doreen Tan, Assistant Chief Executive (Strategic Planning and Digital Readiness) of IMDA, said: “IMDA is glad to collaborate with DBS Foundation to train the public in digital skills for staying safe online. The training is based on the Digital Skills for Life skills competencies just launched in Jan 2024. These essential digital skills competencies will be helpful to Singaporeans for their daily lives, such as transacting online and staying discerning and responsible online. Together with partners like DBS Foundation under the Digital for Life national movement, we work with the community to mobilise and train the community. Our goal: so that no one is left behind as Singapore digitalises.” 

As part of the partnership, DBS Foundation also contributed SGD 1 million, inclusive of dollar-to-dollar government matching, to the Digital for Life Fund, which supports meaningful digital inclusion projects. These include projects from Metta Welfare Association and Guide Dogs Singapore, which seek to drive greater digital awareness, literacy, and adoption among the vulnerable segments that they support in the community, such as youth with mild intellectual disabilities and/or autism and the vision-impaired respectively. 

The bank has also brought back its popular “Your Neighbourhood Getai” initiative, an edutainment-style workshop that marries Getai edutainment with digital literacy education. Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing graced the event at Bukit Merah View Market and Hawker Centre this morning, where he interacted with participating seniors and the bank’s staff volunteers to understand their learning journey. Organised by POSB and DBS Foundation, “Your Neighbourhood Getai” was first piloted last August as part of efforts to reach out to more seniors. 

With scams affecting everyone, not just seniors, DBS Foundation continually explores new formats through which to dial up anti-scam awareness among the wider public. This includes intensifying outreach via platforms such as TikTok, to reach the younger demographic. It will soon be launching a new ‘Adopt-A-Grandparent’ TikTok campaign starting end February – done in partnership with Lions Befrienders, this creative anti-scam and digital inclusion initiative seeks to connect different generations through a shared journey to discover and fight against scams, and create a safer online space for all.