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Singapore

Authorities warn of scammers impersonating officers from government agencies, police

Authorities warn of scammers impersonating officers from government agencies, police
Authorities are warning of scammers impersonating officers from government agencies. (Photo: Shutterstock)

SINGAPORE: Scammers have been targeting members of the public by calling them and claiming to be officers from government agencies, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Friday (Aug 13).

In an advisory, ICA said members of the public have received calls from +65 6812 5555, similar to its SafeTravel Enquiries Helpline (6812 5555).

"They accused the recipients of either spreading fake news related to COVID-19 or breaking COVID-19 rules, further saying that a report would be made against them or they had to pay a penalty," said the authority. "This is a scam."

ICA added that the calls were not made by ICA officers or officers from any other government agencies, and that it "does not call members of the public to request money in any form over the phone".

The public is advised to ignore the calls and the caller's instructions should they receive them.

No government agency will request for personal details or transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines, said ICA.

"Scammers may use caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore," said ICA.

"Do not provide your personal information such as name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details to suspicious or unknown parties."

The authority said it takes "a serious view of such scam calls as it undermines public trust in ICA", adding that a police report has been made.

SCAMMERS IMPERSONATING POLICE OFFICERS

Separately on Friday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said there have been at least 200 reports of banking-related phishing scams where police officers were impersonated.

In a news release, SPF said scammers have been posing as police officers on messaging apps by using publicly available pictures of officers to validate their identity so that the victims would provide their banking details.

The victims received WhatsApp calls from an account with a profile picture showing police officers. During the conversation, the scammer would also provide an SPF name card as proof of identity.

"The victims would be informed that their bank accounts had been found to be involved in criminal activity and were frozen," said SPF.

The scammer would instruct victims to provide their banking details under the pretext of facilitating the release of their bank accounts.

"Victims only realised that they had fallen prey to a scam when they received notifications informing them that money had been transferred from their bank accounts to bank accounts unfamiliar to them or when they discovered unknown transactions made using their credit or debit card," said the police.

Source: CNA/jt

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