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MFA warns public of a new scam where people receive fake calls from its ministry

What is most alarming is that the number that appears on the phone display of the individuals who received these calls is the actual Main Line of the MFA, 6379 8000

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Singapore—In an advisory dated June 18, Tuesday, Singapore’s (MFA) warned the public that three people have already received suspicious phone calls from someone who claims to be working for MFA.

The caller apparently asked these individuals to make money transfers on a specific website. When asked, the people who reported the scam to MFA could not remember specific details of the website.

What is most alarming is that the number that appears on the phone display of the individuals who received these calls is the actual Main Line of the MFA, 6379 8000.

The Ministry warned the public via its Facebook page and website, “This is a scam. Scammers are able to use spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number to display MFA’s number.”

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On 18 June 2019, three members of the public informed MFA that they have received suspicious calls from a person…

Posted by Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The MFA is asking the public to take the following steps to avoid being fooled in this new scam.

  • Do not send money to the caller. MFA officers will not make calls to ask for fund transfers.
  • Do not provide personal information such as your name, identification number, passport information, bank account or credit card details to suspicious or unknown parties.
  • If you receive suspicious calls claiming to be from MFA, hang up, wait a few minutes, then call MFA at 6379 8000 to verify its authenticity.

Anyone with additional information regarding this type of scam should call their hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. People who need to get scam-related advice should call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg.

This new scam comes just weeks after police warned of via WhatsApp, wherein suspicious individuals have devised a new system for taking over WhatsApp accounts through a ruse used in group chats.

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This new variation of scamming, the Police said on their website and Facebook account on May 29, has been reported overseas.

It starts when one scammer takes over the WhatsApp account of a user, and then posts a fake screenshot of a WhatsApp account verification code in chat groups where the user is a member, pretending to alert the other members of the chat group to WhatsApp account takeover .

Afterward, the scammer uses another gadget to try to log in to the WhatsApp accounts of the different members of the group, which would result in each member receiving WhatsApp verification codes on their own devices.

The scammer then gets the other group member to post screenshots of the verification codes they receive, pretending that the verification codes are still part of the scam. But since the verification codes were sent because of the illegal attempt to access the members’ accounts and are therefore legitimate, when the scammer uses these codes, he or she is able to take over the WhatsApp accounts of the other members.

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The Police have informed the public of the scam and are asking everyone to take the following measures to prevent this scam from occurring and spreading:

-“Do not share your account verification codes with anyone;

-Beware of unusual requests received over WhatsApp, even if they were sent by your WhatsApp contacts;

-Always call your friend to verify the authenticity of the request, but do not do so through the social media platform as the account might have been taken over by scammers

-Protect your WhatsApp account by enabling the ‘Two-Step Verification’ feature, which is available under ‘Account’ in the ‘Settings’ tab of your WhatsApp application.  This will prevent others from compromising your WhatsApp account;

-In the event that your WhatsApp account has been taken over by a scammer, you can recover the account by signing into your WhatsApp using your phone number and authenticate it by entering the verification PIN which you will receive on your phone. The scammer which is using your account will automatically be logged out thereafter.”/ TISG

Read related: Police issue warning as scammers now enter WhatsApp chat groups with stolen verification codes

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