SINGAPORE: About S$22,000 was lost in less than a week due to phishing scams involving unpaid Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) tolls, said the police on Tuesday (Oct 18).
The Singapore Police Force said it has received at least 20 reports since Oct 13.
Victims of such phishing scams would receive text messages, purportedly from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), notifying them of unpaid bills or fines.
A URL link would be embedded in the messages and some of the messages would show that it was sent from ERP.
Victims were directed to a fraudulent website after clicking on the URL, and were asked to provide their credit or debit card details and one-time passwords (OTPs).
"Victims would subsequently discover unauthorised transactions made to their credit or debit cards," said the police, adding that this was a new variant of phishing scams.
The police advised members of the public to not click on URL links provided in unsolicited text messages, to always verify the authenticity of the information with the official sources or websites, and not to disclose personal or Internet banking details and OTPs to anyone.
They also advised people to report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to their bank and to cancel their card immediately.
In response to CNA's queries, LTA said on Thursday that it does not request payment via URL links in its SMS alerts on offence notices, vehicle registration and licensing matters.
People can check their outstanding fines and their six-month history of offences, as well as vehicle registration and licensing matters, on the OneMotoring website. Fines can be paid via LTA's e-payment services, Internet banking or at AXS or SAM machines.
"We like to take this opportunity to remind the public to stay vigilant and refrain from clicking on any suspicious links requesting for immediate payment," said LTA.
"Any fraudulent payment which has been detected should immediately be reported to the bank or the police."
The authority said it would notify people immediate of potential phishing scams through messages on the LTA and OneMotoring websites, and on its social media accounts.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced on Oct 14 that organisations that use SMS sender IDs will be required to register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) by January next year.
Telecom operators will also implement SMS anti-scam filtering solutions within their networks to automatically filter potential scam messages before they reach consumers, IMDA said.
These two measures come after public consultation and are part of the multi-pronged effort by IMDA and other stakeholders to further safeguard SMS as a communications channel.