From January to May 2020, the police had received at least 82 reports of a new scam variant targeting bank customers, with total losses amounting to at least $600,000.
For such cases, the victims would receive a spoofed short messaging service (SMS) message purporting to be from their bank, informing them that their bank accounts had been “suspended or deactivated”. They would then be directed to call a specified phone number for assistance. When victims call the phone number, scammers impersonating as bank staff would answer the call,
and ask the victims’ for their personal particulars, internet banking details and One-Time Passwords (OTPs). After providing their details, the victims would subsequently discover that unauthorised transactions were made from their bank accounts.
Members of the public are advised to adopt the following measures to prevent their bank accounts from being compromised:
a. Beware of unsolicited messages or calls from persons impersonating as staff from banks. Scammers may use spoofing technology to mask their actual phone number to display the bank’s name, number and logo on the profile picture for mobile applications such as ‘Viber’ and ‘WhatsApp’, as well as in SMS messages.
b. Do not disclose your internet banking details such as account username, Personal Identification Number (PIN), and OTPs to anyone. Banks and government agencies will never ask you to
disclose your internet banking details to them. Do not respond to or authorise any authentication requests if you did not initiate any internet banking transaction.
c. If you receive a suspicious message or call purporting to be from your bank, call the hotline published on the bank’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. Do not call the number provided in the SMS.
If you wish to provide any information related to such scams, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.
To seek scam-related advice, you may call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg. Join the ‘Let’s Fight Scams’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victims.
Screenshots of SMS thread showing messages sent by scammers spoofing the bank (in red box)
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
28 July 2020 @ 2:10 PM