900 phishing scams in S’pore since January, some scammers pretending to be police officers

The police advised recipients of such calls should ignore the instructions as no government agency will ask for personal information through a telephone call. — Singapore Police Force/ST/ANN

SINGAPORE: The police have observed at least 900 cases of phishing scams since last month, they said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 24).

Moreover, a type of phishing scam has re-emerged where scammers impersonate officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF), they added.

"In these cases, victims would receive unsolicited calls via messaging applications such as WhatsApp," the police said.

"Victims would subsequently speak to callers who would claim to be from a government agency such as the Singapore Police Force."

In addition, these callers would often display the official insignia or picture of officers from SPF as their profile picture to reinforce their ruse.

In some cases, the caller would initiate a video call through these messaging applications while dressed in a uniform similar to those worn by SPF officers.

In these conversations, scammers have asked victims to provide their personal information, banking credentials and one-time password for verification purposes or to assist in investigations, the police statement said.

The scammers have then used the information to create an e-wallet using apps such as DBS PayLah!, Singtel Dash or Grabpay with the name of the victim, so as to top up the e-wallets using the victim's bank account.

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

"The victims would later receive notifications informing them that various transactions were made from their bank account to their e-wallet and would only realise that they have been scammed when they contacted the banks to verify these transactions," the police said.

They emphasised that these calls were not made by police officers.

"Government agencies will never contact members of the public via messaging applications to obtain your personal information, banking credentials or one-time passwords," the police statement said.

Recipients of such calls should ignore the instructions as no government agency will ask for personal information through a telephone call, the police advised.

They should also never disclose their personal or Internet banking details. This includes their NRIC issue date and one-time password.

Members of the public should also always verify the information by contacting the relevant government agencies through their hotline, and report any fraudulent transactions to their bank right away. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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