Singapore — The people have been warned again to watch out for telephone scams, this time by none other than Ms Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek Holdings and wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (Nov 26), she said: “Watch out for phone scams!
Some also say they are calling from the Singapore High Court, etc.”
She also shared an example of a telephone scam. It had this recorded message: “Hello this is DBS Bank. We have been trying to contact you repeatedly but haven’t been able to reach you. Please press 1 to speak to our officer.”
However, the “officer” asked if the call recipient spoke Mandarin. When the answer was negative, the line was disconnected.
The next day (Nov 27), Ms Ho shared a link in another post and wrote: “ScamShield App to block phone scams.”
She added: “I wonder why telcos don’t do a better job to screening these scams.”
Scam cases in Singapore are at an all-time high this year, with 10,402 reported as at August, nearly double the 5,229 for the same period last year, according to straitstimes.com.
It added that more people have been tricked by scammers in the first eight months of this year compared with the same period last year, with victims losing S$157 million from the 10,402 scam cases reported in this period.
Scam calls sometimes come from an unknown number or are prefixed with a plus (+) sign, as the call is likely coming from overseas.
They often have a +65 prefix, which looks like Singapore’s country code but are actually overseas calls. Domestic calls will not display the + prefix. Scammers will often fake attractive deals such as low-interest loans and free gifts.
In a related development, M1 says in reply to a reader’s letter in straitstimes.com on Saturday (Nov 28) that it is looking into network-based analytics and end-user device technology solutions that could complement its efforts against scam calls.
It adds that it has put in place solutions to alert its customers and reduce the likelihood of scam calls affecting them. These include its fraud management system that uses data analytics to identify and block scam calls.
Earlier this year, the telco worked with the Infocomm Media Development Authority to add a “+” sign prefix to overseas incoming calls that are spoofed to look like local numbers, making scam calls easier to identify.
It also has a scam advisory at https://www.m1.com.sg/support/security-announcement. /TISG
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