The Police would like to alert the public to a tech support scam where victims were purportedly cheated by scammers impersonating “tech support” staff from a local telecommunications company. In September 2021, the Police were alerted to two victims, aged 51 and 74, who nearly lost their life savings due to such scams.
In the first case, the victim was deceived into believing that his home WiFi was being used for criminal activities. He was guided by scammers to set up a ‘trap‘ for the criminals. The scammers convinced the victim into downloading ‘Ultraviewer‘, a remote desktop software onto his laptop. Thereafter, the scammers were able to gain control of his laptop and attempted to transfer monies out of the victim’s OCBC bank account.
In the second case, the victim was told that his WiFi had been tapped and was being used for illegal purposes. Similarly, the second victim was instructed to download a file which granted the scammer remote access to his laptop. The second victim also divulged his OCBC internet banking details to the scammer when requested.
Fortunately, due to the vigilance of several OCBC Bank officers, funds transfers of more than $300,000 belonging to both victims were stopped and the scammers‘ plans to steal from both victims were thwarted. The two transactions were detected to be suspicious through the bank‘s Fraud Surveillance System. When contacted by the bank staff to verify the authencity of these transactions, both victims were still unaware of the scam. Eventually, bank staff promptly stopped the fraudulent transactions and ensured that both victims‘ money was still intact. The victims were later convinced that they had been scammed.
In tech support scams, victims would typically receive calls from scammers, claiming to be from local telecommunications companies or government agencies. Victims would often be told that their WiFi or router had been compromised and was being used for illegal purposes, or that their electronic devices such as desktops, laptops or mobile phones had been infected by spyware, malware or viruses, and technical support would be required to remedy the issues. Victims would then be advised by scammers to download and install remote desktop softwares such as TeamViewer, Anydesk or UltraViewer, to grant scammers access to their devices. Scammers would then request for the victim’s internet banking details, PIN numbers and one-time passwords (OTPs) to siphon money from victims‘ bank accounts.
The Police would like to remind members of the public that no telecommunications service provider, software company or government agency will request for personal details or banking credentials over the phone. If members of the public have fallen prey to such scams, they should immediately:
- Turn off their computer to halt further activities on their computer;
- Report the incident to their bank to halt further activities on their bank accounts;
- Change their iBanking credentials and remove any unauthorised payee added to their bank accounts;
- Refrain from giving out any one-time passwords (OTPs) for banking transactions to another party; and
- Report the matter to the Police.
Members of the public are also advised to adopt the following preventive measures:
- Beware of unsolicited calls from persons claiming to be the staff of telecommunications service providers or from a government agency, even if they claim there are issues with your telecommunication devices or allege that you have been implicated in a criminal offence. Scammers can use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number.
- Do not panic and do not follow instructions to install applications, type commands into your computer, or log into your online banking accounts. You should also not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account details or credit card details when the callers request for the information. When in doubt, always call the official hotline of your telecommunications service provider to verify the request.
- Ignore the calls and caller’s instructions. No telecommunications service provider or government agency will request for personal details or access to your online bank account, and perform transfers of money over the phone or through automated voice machines. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act as you may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.
If you have information related to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Please call ‘999’ if you require urgent Police assistance.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Join the ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes’ 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 scam victim.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
14 October 2021 @ 11:14 AM