The Police have observed at least 1,200 cases of phishing scams since December 2021 and would like to alert members of the public to the re-emergence of a variant of phishing scams where scammers would apply for e-wallets with the information gathered from the victims.
Victims would receive unsolicited calls via messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber or IMO. Victims would subsequently speak to callers who would claim to be from a government agency such as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) or Ministry of Manpower (MOM). These callers would often display the official insignia or picture of officers from these government agencies as their profile picture, to reinforce their ruse. In some cases, the caller would initiate a video call through these messaging applications while dressed in a uniform similar to that worn by SPF officers.
During the conversation with the scammers, victims would be asked to provide their personal information, banking credentials and One-Time Password (OTP) for verification purposes or to assist in investigations. Using the information provided by victims, the scammers would then create an e-wallet using applications such as DBS PayLah!, Singtel Dash or GrabPay in the name of the victims, and top up the said e-wallet through the victim’s bank account. In some cases, victims were told to do cash top-ups to the e-wallets at AXS machines or at convenience stores. The victims would later receive notifications informing that various transactions were made from their bank account to their e-wallet and would only realise that they have been scammed when they contacted the banks to verify these transactions.
The Police would like to emphasise that these calls were not made by police officers. Government agencies will never contact members of the public via messaging applications to obtain your personal information, banking credentials or OTPs.
The public is advised to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls via phone or messaging applications:
- Ignore the instructions. No government agency will obtain personal information through a telephone call;
- Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details, including NRIC, NRIC issue date and OTP to anyone;
- Always verify the authenticity of the information by contacting the relevant government agencies through their official hotline; and
- Report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately.
If you have information related to such crimes, 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’.
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 victim.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
13 January 2022 @ 4:50 PM