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In new ‘technical support’ scam, scammers pose as Singtel staff or 'cyber-crime' police

SINGAPORE — The police are alerting the public to a new type of scam, in which scammers pose as technical support employees from Singtel or the Singapore Police Force and ask victims to download software that would help them gain access to the victims’ bank accounts.

The police are advising members of the public to be wary of unsolicited calls from people claiming that they are employees of telecommunication service providers or from a government agency.

The police are advising members of the public to be wary of unsolicited calls from people claiming that they are employees of telecommunication service providers or from a government agency.

SINGAPORE — The police are alerting the public to a new type of scam, in which scammers pose as technical support employees from Singtel or the Singapore Police Force and ask victims to download software that would help them gain access to the victims’ bank accounts.

The police said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 18) that in one version of the ruse, the scammer would say that they are a staff member of Singtel, and that there are issues with the victim’s modem or Internet connection.

Other times, they pose as someone from the "Cyber Crime Department of Singapore" or the "Cyber Police of Singapore", and accuse victims of having committed a criminal offence.

The scammers would then tell victims to download software applications such as Teamviewer or AnyDesk to either help “resolve” their Internet connection issues or to assist in bogus investigations. 

Once the software applications were installed on the victims’ computers, the scammers would use them to access the victims’ computers remotely and request the victims to log into their online bank accounts. Once they are logged in, the scammers would transfer money out of these bank accounts without the victims’ consent. 

Since last month, at least 21 cases of this nature have been reported, with more than S$1.5 million lost, the police said. 

Should members of public come across such incidents, they should: 

  • Turn off their computer to halt further activities on their computer

  • Report the incident to their bank to stop further activities on their bank accounts

  • Change their iBanking credentials and remove any unauthorised payee added to their bank accounts

  • Report the matter to the police

The police also advised members of the public to be wary of unsolicited calls from people claiming that they are employees of telecommunication service providers or from a government agency, “even if they claim there are issues with your telecommunication devices or allege that you are implicated in a criminal offence”.

No telecommunication service provider or government agency would ask for personal details or access to online bank accounts, nor would they request transfers of money over the phone or through automated voice machines, the police said.

The statement noted that scammers could use caller-ID spoofing technology to mask the real phone number from which they are calling so that it displays a different number.  

The police advised the public not to follow instructions to install applications or type commands into their computers, nor to follow instructions to log into their online banking accounts. 

“You should also not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details when the callers request the information,” the police said.

“When in doubt, always call the official hotline of your telecommunication service provider to verify. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act as you may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgement.”

A Singtel spokesperson said: "it is not Singtel’s practice to ask customers for their bank account details or for money transfers over the phone ... it is unfortunate that scammers have been impersonating our staff in their bid to cheat."

"We would like to remind customers not to share any personal details, including bank account numbers or passwords with unknown callers or click on random links from unknown numbers. Neither should they respond when contacted by automated voice machines. 

"When in doubt, they should contact us to verify the veracity of their calls,” the spokesperson added.

Should the public wish to provide any information on such scams, they may call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. 

For scam-related advice, the public may call the National Crime Prevention Council’s anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.

Related topics

scam police cyber crime impersonation telco

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