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Swift Intervention By Anti-Scam Centre, DBS Bank And UOB Bank Prevented More Than $3 Million In Losses In Two Government Official Impersonation Scams

In March 2024, the Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) worked with DBS Bank and UOB Bank in two separate scam cases, preventing more than $3 million 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 successfully,

In the first case, a 76-year-old victim was contacted by a scammer posing as a bank staff, informing him that his identity was being misused.  The victim was referred to a “Police Officer from the Singapore Police Force (SPF)” who claimed that he was under investigation for money laundering. The victim was given a choice for normal investigation lasting up to 60 days or Priority Financial Inspection lasting a week. However, the latter option requires the victim to transfer money to a given account. Under the guise of a faster investigation duration, the victim complied and transferred over $127,500 to three different bank accounts provided by the scammer. When the victim ran out of cash, he wanted to make a withdrawal from his CPF to make the payment to the scammer.

UOB detected the suspicious transactions and promptly blocked the transaction. The case was escalated to ASC where officers swiftly engaged the victim in person to understand the situation. The victim was eventually convinced that he had fallen prey to scam. The quick intervention prevented losses amounting to $98,000 which the victim had attempted to transfer from his CPF account that day.

In the second case, a 52-year-old victim was contacted by a “Senior Inspector from the SPF” informing him that he was under investigation. The victim was instructed to transfer a sum of $200,000 every day over a period of 2 weeks to various bank accounts for the purpose of inspection and verification. When the victim deposited a cheque of $500,000 to the account provided by the scammer for inspection, it was detected by DBS Bank’s Anti-Mule Team.

DBS Bank immediately put a hold on the funds and surfaced this case to ASC who swiftly proceeded to engage the victim. After pointing out the red flags to the victim, he was convinced that he had fallen prey to a scam. The cheque was stopped by DBS Bank, and the swift intervention prevented further losses amounting to $2.9 million.

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). Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames, passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.

  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!

 


PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
17 April 2024 @ 12:00 PM
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