At least 1,200 phishing scams reported in SG since December as e-wallet con makes a comeback


The scammers would apply for e-wallets with information gathered from victims who received unsolicited calls on messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber and IMO, the police said in a media release. — Technology vector created by freepik - www.freepik.com

SINGAPORE: Since December last year, at least 1,200 cases of phishing scams have been reported, and a scam variant involving e-wallet applications has re-emerged, said the police on Thursday (Jan 13).

The scammers would apply for e-wallets with information gathered from victims who received unsolicited calls on messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber and IMO, the police said in a media release.

It is not known how many of the 1,200 cases were e-wallet scams.

The callers would claim to be from a government agency such as the Singapore Police Force or Ministry of Manpower. They would often display the official insignia or profile pictures of officers from these agencies. Some would even start a video call while wearing a uniform similar to those worn by police officers.

They would ask victims to provide their personal information, banking credentials and one-time password (OTP) for verification purposes or to assist in investigations.

The scammers would then create an e-wallet using apps such as DBS PayLah!, Singtel Dash or GrabPay in the victim’s name, and top up the e-wallet using the victim’s bank account.

In some cases, victims were told to do cash top-ups to the e-wallets at AXS machines or convenience stores.

They would later receive notifications that various transactions had been made from their bank account via the e-wallet. They would realise they had been scammed only when they contact their bank to verify these transactions.

Noting that the calls were not made by their officers, the police said: "Government agencies will never contact members of the public via messaging applications to obtain personal information, banking credentials or OTPs."

They advise anyone who receives unsolicited calls to do the following:

  • Ignore the instructions. No government agency will obtain personal information through a phone call.
  • Never disclose personal or Internet banking details, including NRIC, NRIC issue date and OTP, to anyone.
  • Always verify the authenticity of the information by contacting the relevant government agencies on their official hotline.
  • Report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network
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