SINGAPORE: A 20-year-old man lost S$5,600 to scammers who were operating a fake Singapore Police Force (SPF) website, the police said in a advisory on Friday (Dec 8).
The police on Thursday received a report from the man saying that the sum of money had been transferred from his bank account without his knowledge.
He said he had received a call from a man claiming to be a police officer. The impersonator told the victim he was involved in a case of money laundering and asked him for his personal details.
The victim then received a call from another person who directed him to a webpage that resembled the SPF’s website.
The man was told to provide personal information such as his name, personal identification number, bank account details as well as passwords.
The victim later found out that two transactions had been made from his bank account without his consent. He was then instructed by the scammers to delete the bank notifications that indicated the sum of money that had been transferred.
The police said in their advisory that the website is a phishing site in disguise, designed to extract personal information and banking details of victims, resulting in “extensive monetary losses in most reported cases”.
Police investigations are ongoing.
The police would like to clarify that the official SPF website is www.police.gov.sg. Members of the public are advised to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:
1. Ignore the calls. 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. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.
2. Ignore instructions to remit or transfer money. Government agencies do not ask for payment through telephone calls, especially to a third party’s bank account.
3. Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as Internet bank account usernames and passwords, one-time password (OTP) codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.
6. The police would also like to inform members of the public to be wary of befriending unknown persons online who may ask to use your bank account to either receive money or transfer money to someone else. You may be in the process of being recruited as a money mule. To prevent yourself from being recruited as a money mule, members of the public are advised to adopt the following crime prevention measures:
a) Do not give your personal particulars or bank account details to strangers.
b) Decline any request by acquaintance for money transfers – you might unwittingly be committing a crime by laundering money for another party.
c) Report to the police and the bank immediately if you suspect that you have received unknown monies in your account.
d) If you are approached by anyone who claims to be a police officer, ask for the warrant card. If you are in doubt, dial 999 for urgent police assistance.
e) If you have information related to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the police hotline at 1 800 255 0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
Members of the public can also seek help by calling the anti-scam helpline at 1 800 722 6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg.