The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is joining hands with the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) to launch measures to help tackle phone scammers posing as bank staff, Sky Post reported Tuesday.
The HKMA, the HKAB and its member banks stopped banks earlier from using referral services from intermediary agencies.
Banks are now required to publish their hotline numbers on their websites, as well as those of the HKMA and HKAB.
When bank staff engage in telesales, they must provide their full name, staff number and direct line number to the recipients of the calls.
Arthur Yuen Kwok-hang, deputy chief executive of the HKMA, said many citizens have received scam calls since July.
Swindlers try to collect personal information and even commit fraud.
Some operators try to entice those who are called with low-interest loans, but the victims are eventually directed to loans with high interest or substantial handling fees.
Since July, retail banks in Hong Kong have received 2,130 enquiries relating to suspicious calls, Yuen said.
He said public awareness of what can be done to avoid scams is still low, as there were only around 200 enquiries made in the past two months to a hotline dedicated to the verification of bank employee identities.
George Leung Siu-kay, acting chairman of the HKAB, said bank staff would never ask for sensitive personal data and would never ask recipients of their calls to provide credit card or online banking passwords.
If such a request is made, the caller is definitely not from a bank, Leung emphasized.
To verify a customer’s identity, bank employees would only require the customer to provide a few digits of his or her HKID card number, he said.
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