S$1.5m lost to scammers impersonating Singtel staff and police using tech support ploy

S$1.5m lost to scammers impersonating Singtel staff and police using tech support ploy

laptop computer
A man types on a laptop keyboard. (File photo: AFP/Philippe HUGUEN)

SINGAPORE: Scammers have a new tactic up their sleeves which involves them impersonating Singtel employees and claiming that there are issues with victims' Internet connections.

Scammers gain remote access to victims' computers by tricking them into installing software applications such as Teamviewer or AnyDesk on the pretext that this will help resolve the issues with the connection, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Wednesday (Sep 18).

Singtel has previously warned of scams involving fake technicians or customer officers offering to troubleshoot customers' Internet connection and asking for personal details.

In other cases, scammers claim to represent the "Cyber Crime Department of Singapore" or the "Cyber Police of Singapore", and tell victims they have committed a criminal offence.

Installing the applications would assist in investigations, victims have been told.

BEWARE OF UNSOLICITED CALLS: POLICE

Having gained access to computers, scammers request that victims log into their bank accounts. Scammers then remove funds.

Victims of this new type of scam have lost more than S$1.5 million in at least 21 cases since August 2019, said SPF.

"No telecommunication service provider or government agency will request for personal details or access to your online bank account and do transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines," said SPF.

READ: ICA warns of phone scammers impersonating its officers

Using Caller ID spoofing technology, scammers may mask the actual phone number and display a different number.

Police said if someone falls for the scam, they should immediately turn off their computer, report the incident to the bank and the police, change their Internet banking credentials and remove any unauthorised payee added to their account.

In a statement to CNA, Singtel said that it is not the company's practice to ask customers for their bank account details or for money transfers over the phone. 

"It is unfortunate that scammers have been impersonating our staff in their bid to cheat," said the spokesperson. 

"We would like to remind customers not to share any personal details, including bank account numbers or passwords with unknown callers or click on random links from unknown numbers." 

Customers also should not respond if they are contacted by automated voice machines, reminded the spokesperson. 

If in doubt, customers should contact Singtel to verify the veracity of the calls. 

Source: CNA/jt

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