Singapore Police issues advisory about re-emergence of impersonation calls

Showing concern towards the re-emergence of impersonation calls, Singapore Police have issued an advisory urging people to remain alert of such calls from unknown parties.

Issuing a press release, Singapore Police said, “Members of the public have received calls purportedly from courier companies or government officials.”

Explaining the modus operandi, it said, “In one scenario, the caller claimed that a parcel under the recipient's name containing illegal goods was detained by Chinese Customs. The call was then transferred to another person who identified himself as a police officer. In other cases, the caller alleged that the recipient had committed a criminal offence and was required to assist in criminal investigations.”

Singaporean people should remain alert from impersonation calls and follow the advisory issued by Singapore Police.
Singaporean people should remain alert from impersonation calls and follow the advisory issued by Singapore Police. Photo courtesy: irs

After that, the scammer would then direct the recipient to provide his personal details, including Internet banking credentials and one-time passwords (OTP), to the ‘government officer’ for investigation purposes.

A sum of money would then be transferred out of their bank account into other unknown bank accounts. If they did not cooperate, the recipient would be threatened with imprisonment, in some cases. 

In other scam cases, the recipients were instructed to transfer a sum of money using Bitcoin vending machines instead, the police added.

The scammer would first send a QR code to the recipient and ask him to scan it at the Bitcoin vending machine before depositing money into the machine. 

To make the people alert about such calls, an advisory has been issued to take the following measures when people receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:

1. Ignore the calls and caller’s instructions.

2. No government agency will request personal details or transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines.

3. Scammers may use caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.

4. Do not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details. Such information are useful to criminals.

5. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and make an error in your judgment.

To get the help of the police in such cases, members of the public can call the police hotline at 1 800 255 0000.

People can also seek help by calling the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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