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1,200 phishing scams since December; some culprits impersonate officials and use stolen data to set up e-wallet: Police

SINGAPORE — The police on Thursday (Jan 13) issued a warning about scammers who call victims through messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber and IMO on the pretext of being from a government agency such as the Singapore Police Force or the Ministry of Manpower.  

Some scammers initiate a video call through messaging applications while dressed in a uniform similar to that of police officers in Singapore.

Some scammers initiate a video call through messaging applications while dressed in a uniform similar to that of police officers in Singapore.

SINGAPORE — The police on Thursday (Jan 13) issued a warning about scammers who call victims through messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber and IMO on the pretext of being from a government agency such as the Singapore Police Force or the Ministry of Manpower.  

In some cases, the offenders display official insignia or pictures of officers from these government agencies as their profile photo to strengthen their ruse. Some even initiate a video call through the messaging app while dressed in a uniform similar to that of police officers here.

After asking victims for their personal information, banking credentials and one-time passwords (OTPs) for “verification purposes or to assist in investigations”, the scammers create an e-wallet using applications such as DBS Paylah!, Singtel Dash or Grab Pay in the name of the victims.

They then top up the fraudulently created e-wallet using the victim’s bank account. 

Since December last year, the police have observed at least 1,200 instances of phishing scams.

“(We) would like to alert members of the public to the re-emergence of a variant of phishing scams where scammers would apply for e-wallets with the information gathered from the victims,” they said.

In some of these cases, victims were told to do cash top-ups to the e-wallets at AXS machines or convenience stores.

The victims would realise they had been scammed only when contacted by the banks to verify these transactions.

The police stressed that these calls are not legitimate.

“Government agencies will never contact members of the public via messaging applications to obtain your personal information, banking credentials or OTPs,” they added.

They reminded the public again to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls via the phone or messaging apps:

  • Ignore the instructions. No government agency will obtain personal information through a telephone call
  • Never disclose your personal or internet banking details, including those of your identity card, the card's issue date and OTP 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 may call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Related topics

crime Scam phishing police OTP e-wallet e-payment

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