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900 phishing scams 'observed' since January, police impersonation cases re-emerging: SPF

900 phishing scams 'observed' since January, police impersonation cases re-emerging: SPF

The Singapore Police Force alerted members of the public to phishing scams involving people impersonating SPF officers. (Photos: Singapore Police Force)

SINGAPORE: At least 900 cases of phishing scams have been "observed" by the police since January this year, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Thursday (Feb 24).

In a news release, SPF also warned of the re-emergence of phishing scams involving the impersonation of police officers.

In such scams, victims would receive unsolicited calls via messaging applications such as WhatsApp. They would later speak to callers  purporting to be from a government agency like the SPF. 

These callers would often display the official insignia or picture of officers from SPF as their profile picture to reinforce their ruse, said the police. 

In some cases, the callers would initiate a video call while dressed in uniform similar to those worn by police officers. 

VICTIMS ASKED TO PROVIDE PERSONAL INFORMATION

During the conversation, victims would be asked to provide their personal information, banking credentials and one-time password for verification purposes or to assist in investigations, said the police. 

Using the information provided, the scammers would then create an e-wallet using applications such as DBS Paylah!, Singtel Dash or GrabPay in the name of the victims. They would then top up the e-wallet through the victim's bank account. 

In some cases, victims would be told to make cash top-ups to the e-wallets at AXS machines or at convenience stores. They would later receive notifications informing that various transactions were made from their bank account to their e-wallet. 

The victims would only realise that they have been scammed when they contact the banks to verify these transactions. 

"The Police would like to emphasise that these calls were not made by police officers," said SPF. 

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

Members of the public are advised to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls via phone or messaging applications: 

  • Ignore the instructions. No government agency will obtain personal information through a telephone call
  • Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details, including NRIC, the NRIC issue date, as well as one-time password to anyone. 
  • Always verify the authenticity of the information by contacting the relevant government agencies through their official hotline
  • Report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately

Those with information on such crimes can call the police hotline at 1800 255 0000 or submit it online via the iWitness form

Source: CNA/lk(gr)

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