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Scam alert by police: 3 ways you could lose your money to bank impersonators

SINGAPORE — Not only are scammers sending messages via the phone or email that mimic a bank’s, they are also making video calls to pretend to be bank employees, tricking people into giving away account and card details.

Scam alert by police: 3 ways you could lose your money to bank impersonators

Messages and emails that appear to be sent by banks asking people to take surveys have been circulating, the police said.

SINGAPORE — Not only are scammers sending messages via the phone or email that mimic a bank’s, they are also making video calls to pretend to be bank employees, tricking people into giving away account and card details.

The police issued an advisory on Thursday (March 17) warning the public about the various ways in which scammers are targeting potential victims by making it seem like the messages and calls they receive are from banks.

The following are the methods used and the public should be aware of them to prevent themselves from being the next victim, the police said.

1. BY EMAIL

You will get an email containing a link to a survey. On clicking the link, you will be directed to a phishing website to complete the survey. The email will also indicate that a cash reward will be given after the survey is done.

You will be instructed to provide your credit or debit card details and one-time password (OTP).

For the victims, they believed that the information was needed to process the cash reward, so they gave the details requested by the website.

A sample of a survey that looks to be from POSB bank but it is not.

2. BY SMS OR TEXT MESSAGES

You will get a text message on your mobile phone about an ongoing bank promotion such as a fixed deposit or high interest-rate savings promotion.

The message will contain spoofed links or numbers that you have to contact to find out more about the promotion. 

After clicking the spoofed links, you will be redirected to a phishing website where you are prompted to give your credit or debit card details and OTP. 

In some instances, if you call the number indicated, a scammer will impersonate a bank employee and ask you to transfer money to a specific account, claiming that the new account opened was part of the promotion. 

3. BY VIDEO CALL

You will get a video call on messaging applications such as WhatsApp. The caller will claim to be from a bank and inform you that the “bank” had detected that someone had gained access to your account.

Under the pretext of helping you resolve the issue, the caller will ask you for your personal particulars and bank log-in details.

The police said that in most of these cases, the victims realised that they had been scammed only when they discovered unauthorised transactions made using their credit or debit card. 

The police is reminding the public again that banks do not send retail customers emails and messages that contain clickable links. 

The banking authorities here already announced in January that this would not be done after the high-profile OCBC phishing scams that affected close to 800 bank customers and culminated in about $13.7 million in losses.

To confirm if the messages you received are authentic, you should:

  • Always verify the email address of the sender to ensure that it matches the company that it is representing
  • Always verify the authenticity of the information with official sources by contacting the bank directly
  • Never disclose your personal particulars, bank log-in details, credit or debit card details and OTP to anyone
  • Always check the merchant indicated within the OTP SMS received. Never input the OTP if you do not recognise the merchant in the SMS message
  • Report any fraudulent activity in your bank account to your bank immediately

Members of the public who have any information relating to such crimes, please call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If you need help from the police urgently, call 999.

Related topics

Scam bank OTP SMS phishing email video call

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