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Swift Intervention By Anti-Scam Centre And Banks Prevented More Than S$260,000 In Losses In Four Separate Scams

In February 2024, the Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) worked with Standard Chartered (SC) Bank, OCBC Bank, DBS Bank, and HSBC Bank in four separate scams, preventing about S$265,000 in losses for the victims. In these cases, the ASC and the banks acted swiftly to intercept the funds and engage the victims, convincing them of the deceptive schemes they were entrenched in. The collaborative efforts between ASC and the banks underscore the importance of quick intervention actions to foil the evolving scam tactics employed by the scammers.

Case 1 – Investment Scam

In this case, the 71-year-old male victim was introduced to an investment opportunity by his ‘friend’, who allegedly resided in Hong Kong. The duo had maintained contact via various messaging platforms. On 3 February 2024, on instructions of the ‘friend’, the victim transferred funds from his account to a local corporate account to invest in a F&B company, believing that the company was owned by the ‘friend’. The ‘friend’ promised to match the amount the victim had invested through a fake investment platform. The victim believed the investment was genuine as he could see the supposed account balance on the fake investment platform. On 7 February 2024, under the ‘friend’s’ instructions, the victim attempted to transfer more than S$50,000 from his SC account as payment to a fictitious supplier. SC’s anti-fraud team detected the transfers, and the case was referred to the ASC, where officers swiftly engaged the victim and successfully convinced the victim about the scam.

Case 2 – Investment Scam

In this case, the 63-year-old male victim was befriended by a female subject on Facebook, who introduced him to a cryptocurrency investment scheme. The victim was enticed bythe promise of quick profits to make several transfers totalling more than S$250,000 to different bank accounts. The transactions were detected by HSBC and escalated to ASC on 15 February 2024, which promptly reached out to the victim, who was residing overseas and managed to dissuade him from making further transfers. At the same time, ASC reached out to the receiving banks and recovered more than S$90,000.

Case 3 – Tech Support Scam and Government Official Impersonation Scam

In this case, the 74-year-old male victim received a pop-up notification on his laptop to alert him that his machine was corrupted. Unaware that it could be a scam, the victim called the helpdesk hotline provided in the pop-up notification. The call was then transferred to an ‘official from the Cyber Security Department’ who informed the victim that his bank account had been compromised and that he was required to transfer more than S$70,000 to a bank account in Hong Kong to help “catch the scammers”. He was also informed that “the officials” would transfer the monies required for this transaction into his account. The victim proceeded to the OCBC Bedok branch to make the overseas funds transfer over the counter. A vigilant OCBC branch employee detected the red flags and found the victim’s account suspicious. She sought the advice and assistance of a colleague from the OCBC Anti-Scam Unit (ASU), who helped to place a hold on the victim’s account to prevent other transactions on his account. Officers from the ASC engaged the victim on the same day and successfully prevented the victim from making further transfers.

Case 4 – Internet Love Scam

On 21 February 2024, the ASC and DBS foiled an internet love scam, preventing losses amounting to more than S$50,000. The 78-year-old male victim was befriended by the female subject on Facebook, who claimed that she was facing financial difficulties and asked the victim for a loan. The victim transferred money as instructed. Subsequently, the scammer promised to repay the victim through a parcel containing cash and other luxury items but requested that the victim pay the customs taxes, logistics holding fees, and an additional foreign currency transaction fee. This was detected by the DBS Anti-Scam Team, who took swift action to block the suspicious transaction along with the victim’s internet banking access. When the victim visited a DBS branch to reinstate his Internet banking access and withdraw his remaining balance, the vigilant branch staff detected something was amiss and promptly escalated the case to the ASC. On the same day, ASC officers met up with the victim in time to convince him to stop the withdrawal amounting to more than S$50,000.

ACT Against Scams

Members of the public are advised to adopt the following precautionary measures:

  1. ADD - ScamShield App and security features (e.g. enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), Multifactor Authentication for banks and set up transaction limits for internet banking transactions, including PayNow).

  2. CHECK - For scam signs with official sources (e.g. ScamShield WhatsApp bot @ https://go.gov.sg/scamshield-bot, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visit www.scamalert.sg). Never install software from unverified sources as they may be remote access software allowing others to observe what you do on your device or even take control of it. Additionally, you should never allow others to watch you enter your personal particulars or bank login details.

  3. TELL - Authorities, family, and friends about scams and do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively. Report the number to WhatsApp and Telegram to initiate in-app blocking and report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Fighting scams is a community effort. Together, we can ACT Against Scams to safeguard our community!

SCB staff and ASC officer intervening in Case 1

Palkim Mao (left) and DSP Timothy Ng (right) working on an intervention case to prevent more than S$50,000 loss from an investment scam victim.

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OCBC staffs involved for Case 3

Peck Chun Hua (left) and Pong Siew Choo helped to prevent a 74-year-old victim from losing more than S$70,000 to a tech support scam.

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DBS staff involved for Case 4

Cheryl Wang, DBS Anti-Scam Team member, helped to prevent an internet love scam victim from losing more than S$50,000.

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PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
05 March 2024 @ 10:18 PM
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