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900 cases of phishing scams since January; some culprits posing as police

SINGAPORE — The police have received at least 900 reports of phishing scams since the start of the year, as they warned on Thursday (Feb 24) of the re-emergence of a scam tactic involving the impersonation of police officers.

Screenshots of video calls from scammers impersonating the police.

Screenshots of video calls from scammers impersonating the police.

SINGAPORE — The police have received at least 900 reports of phishing scams since the start of the year, as they warned on Thursday (Feb 24) of the re-emergence of a scam tactic involving the impersonation of police officers.

In these police impersonation scam cases, victims would receive unsolicited calls via messaging applications such as WhatsApp from callers claiming to be from a government agency such as the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the police said in a statement.

“These callers would often display the official insignia or picture of officers from SPF as their profile picture to reinforce their ruse.”

In some cases, the scammers would initiate a video call through these messaging applications while dressed in an outfit that looked like uniforms worn by police officers.

During their calls with the scammers, victims would be asked to provide their personal information, banking credentials and one-time passwords (OTPs) for “verification purposes” or to “assist in investigations”, the police said.

With the information given by the victims, the scammers would then create an e-wallet using applications such as DBS PayLah!, Singtel Dash or GrabPay under the victims’ names, and top up the e-wallets through the victim’s bank account. 

In some cases, victims would be told to make cash top-ups to the e-wallets at AXS machines or at convenience stores. 

The victims would only realise they have been tricked when they contact their banks upon receiving notifications alerting them that various transactions were made from their bank account to their e-wallet.

“The police would like to emphasise that these calls were not made by police officers. Government agencies will never contact members of the public via messaging applications to obtain your personal information, banking credentials or OTPs.” 

The police last warned of this particular scam tactic last month. Other similar impersonation scams have involved scammers presenting photos of fake police warrant cards or fake Interpol international police passes.

They advised the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls: 

  • Ignore the instructions. No government agency will obtain personal information through a telephone call
  • Never disclose your personal or internet banking details, including National Registration Identity Card number, its 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

Members of the public who have information related to such crimes are advised to call the police hotline at 1800 255 000, or submit an online form at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. They may dial 999 if they require urgent police assistance. 

For more information on scams, they may visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800 722 6688.

Related topics

crime Scam phishing impersonation Police

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