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Police warn of new type of phishing scam involving impersonation of government officials

Police warn of new type of phishing scam involving impersonation of government officials

File photo of a man making a call.

SINGAPORE: The police on Tuesday (Jan 5) warned of a new type of phishing scam involving the impersonation of government officials. 

Victims would typically receive phone calls or messages purportedly from government agencies such as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) or the Ministry of Manpower.

The scammers would claim that there were issues with the victims’ bank accounts and that they would need to verify their Internet banking login details, one-time passwords or personal particulars to resolve the matter.

"The victims would realise that they had been scammed when they discovered unauthorised transactions made from their accounts," said the police.

READ: Police warn of new type of phishing scam involving advertisements, lucky draws from fake bank websites

Almost 900 cases of banking-related phishing scams were reported between January and June last year, with victims suffering losses amounting to more than S$3.6 million, said the police.

This is a sharp increase from the 34 cases of such scams reported in the same period in 2019, with losses of more than S$93,000. 

READ: Hello, it's a scammer on the line: Robocalls on the rise with some targeting people working from home

To avoid falling for scams, the police advised the public not to panic when receiving such calls or messages from scammers.

"No government agency will request for personal details or bank account login details over the phone," SPF said.

"Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act as you may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment."

The police also noted that scammers can make use of caller ID spoofing technology to display a different number to victims, masking their actual phone numbers. This means calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. 

Since April 2020, local telcos have worked with the Government to add a “+” prefix to incoming international calls, making scam calls easier to identify.

Source: CNA/nh(gs)

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