The police has said in an advisory that since March 2016, it had received more than 50 reports where the victims have been tricked into sending more than S$4 million to the scammers, after they received calls from persons impersonating as overseas officials, telling them that parcels containing illegal items had been shipped in their names.
The scam is almost identical to the fraud cases experienced in Hong Kong and China since mid-2015, the police advised. The further said that there has been a slight shift in the modus operandi of the scam recently, whereby scammers claimed to be officers from the Singapore Police Force or local courier companies such as Singpost.
The victims may also receive calls with spoofed local numbers, informing them that the parcels were delivered to local addresses, making the ruse more believable. Victims were then asked to remit monies to bank accounts in China or make fund transfers through internet banking to accounts in Malaysia.
In recent cases, some victims have been asked to visit a webpage where they enter their personal information such as name, passport details, NRIC numbers, and bank details such as their usernames and passwords. Disclosure of such personal information may allow scammers to access the victims’ internet banking accounts.
- Ignore the calls. 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.
- Ignore instruction to remit or transfer money. No government agency will inform you to make a payment through a telephone call, especially to a third party’s bank account.
- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account username and password, OTP code from token, is useful to criminals.
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgement.
- If you have information related to such crime or if you are in doubt, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or dial 999 for urgent Police assistance.