SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force issued an advisory on Friday morning (Apr 12) warning the public against a scam where the perpetrators impersonate banks, sending SMSes that offer deposit scheme promotions with high interest rates.

From the beginning of this year, at least 12 people have been victimised in the scam, with total losses amounting to at least S$650,000.

These scammers operate by sending SMSes to victims from unknown +65 local mobile numbers. These messages claim to be from banks and would promote fixed deposit schemes with high interest rates. The scammers would then instruct victims to contact a phone number provided within the SMS to express their interest and obtain more details about the promotion.

Screengrab/ Singapore Police Force

When the victims call the numbers, the scammers would pretend to be bank agents, providing fraudulent identification such as staff passes. They would ask for the particulars of the victims to allow them to “apply for the fixed deposit promotion.”

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Screengrab/ Singapore Police Force

Upon obtaining the particulars, the scammers would tell the victims that they have registered a bank account under their names and, some victims even receive forged bank statements claiming that new bank accounts were under their names.

Screengrab/ Singapore Police Force

The victims would then be told to deposit or transfer money into the bank accounts, after being told that the accounts were either created “for them” or were meant “hold the funds prior to the creation of their account.” This dissuades further verification, the police added.

Screengrab/ Singapore Police Force

 

It is only when the victims log into their banking application and find no changes to system records, do they realize that they have been scammed. However, in some cases, they are assuaged by the scammers that an “activation period” was necessary, which further delayed the discovery of the scam.

After they had transferred or deposited money into their “new” accounts and upon checking with banks directly regarding these accounts, the victims finally find out that the accounts belonged to other individuals and were not, in fact, fixed deposit accounts created for them.

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The police have advised the public to add the ScamShield App for protection against scam calls and SMSes, as well as to implement security features, including setting transaction limits for internet banking transactions, enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multifactor Authentication for banks and e-wallets.

“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!” added the police. /TISG

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