Let's Fight Phishing Scams!
By: Syam Roslan
(Photos: Singapore Police Force)
A screenshot of phishing SMS, directing victims to the phishing website
Phishing scam cases in Singapore have seen a significant increase this year, with more than 190 cases reported between January 2020 to August 2020. This is a far cry from the seven cases reported in the same period in 2019, with losses amounting to $304,000 this year as compared to losses amounting to $4,000 in the same period in 2019. In this issue of Police Life, we share with readers insights into phishing scams, and how to prevent ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to such scams!
Growing Trend of Impersonating Trusted Entities
Screenshots of payment page impersonating DHL, requesting victims to enter their payment card details
In the latest trend of phishing scams, scammers were reported to have impersonated entities that the victims know or trust, such as banks, government agencies, trade unions or companies, including Singpost, StarHub, Netflix, Paypal and DHL. Victims would receive emails or text messages from these ‘companies’ with fake offers or claims to trick recipients into clicking on an URL link.
A screenshot of phishing email impersonating Netflix and a screenshot of payment page impersonating Netflix requesting victims to enter their payment card details
These fake offers or claims include outstanding payment for parcel delivery, disruptions to services or subscriptions, refunds or promotions. Another variant of phishing scams involved the use of fake advertising campaigns and lucky draws from banks. In this variant, victims would either receive messages via WhatsApp purportedly sent from local banks, or they would come across fake advertisements on Facebook from banks to participate in lucky draws or certain promotions to win attractive prizes. Similarly, victims would also be tricked into clicking a URL link.
Screenshot of a fake advertisement campaign on Facebook
After clicking on the URL link embedded in the emails, text messages or fake advertisements, victims would be redirected to a fraudulent bank website to provide their internet banking details, credit or debit cards details and One-Time Password (OTP). Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when they discovered the unauthorised transactions made from their bank accounts and credit or debit cards. Scammers might also modify such sites from time to time, to target customers from different banks and payment service providers.
Tips to Stop Phishing Scams
Screenshot of a phishing website
As the year-end online shopping events approach, members of the public may come across potential phishing scams when browsing online offers or awaiting deliveries for their online purchases.
To avoid becoming a victim of such scams, here are some tips:
- Do not click on URL links provided in unsolicited emails and text messages;
- Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources;
- Never disclose your personal or internet banking details and OTP to anyone; and
- Report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on these scams may also submit information through the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from falling prey to them.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
15 December 2020 @ 1:00 PM