The Police are working with the banks and other stakeholders to warn the public not to share their one-time passwords (OTPs) for online transactions with anyone.
The OTP is a security feature commonly used as a part of two-factor authentication. OTPs are unique passwords that are available for a defined period of time and are only valid for a single transaction. They are meant to safeguard users and serve as an added level of security in case the first level of security is breached through accidental disclosure of information, hacking or phishing attempts.
The Police have observed that many victims of scams unknowingly share their OTPs with scammers. This allows scammers to gain access to their accounts to either transfer money to other accounts or use the funds for fraudulent online purchases. The number of cases of scams where money was lost after victims provided OTPs to scammers increased to 1,101 cases in 2019, from 244 cases in 2018. The total amount cheated also increased to about $15.3 million in 2019, from about $456,000 in 2018.
Scammers may use various platforms like chat applications, social media platforms or through calls to impersonate the victim’s friends, government officials, or technical support staff from a company. They will then come up with various ruses to induce the victims to share the OTPs, such as helping the victim to join a contest or to resolve some technical issues, or telling the victim that he/she has won a prize. Common types of scams where scammers will ask for OTPs include:
· Social media impersonation scam
· Technical support scam
· Lucky draw scam
· Bank phishing scam
Banks like OCBC and online payment platforms like Grab have included warning messages in their OTP SMSes which are sent to their users to remind them not to share the passwords with anyone.
The Police would like to urge members of the public not to share their OTPs with anyone and to share this crime prevention tip with their family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victim of scam.
A screenshot of OCBC’s warning message
Two screenshots of Grab’s warning messages
A screenshot of scammers asking victim for money in a social media impersonation scam
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
01 April 2020 @ 3:00 PM