Fraud Alert on a laptop screen

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) issued an alert to warn the public concerning a scam where fraudsters impersonate a government official. Last month alone, there were at least 120 victims, with total losses amounting to at least S$13.3 million.

Among the victims of Government Officials Impersonation Scams (GOIS), three cases resulted in $488,000 CPF withdrawals between November and December 2023.

FB screengrab/CPF Board

Fraudsters impersonating bank officers make unsolicited calls to victims, saying they need validation for suspicious banking transactions that the victims allegedly conducted.

When the victims say they did not make the transactions or don’t possess cards for the banks involved in these transactions, the call is transferred to another scammer who says he or she is an official from SPF or even another country such as China.

This “official” then accuses the victim of being responsible for criminal activities, such as fraud or money laundering.

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The victim would then be told to transfer his or her monies to “security accounts”, which are specified bank accounts supposedly designated by the “authorities,” under a number of pretexts, including supporting investigations and preventing the abuse of bank or CPF accounts.

The scammers ask for victims’ banking credentials, credit card details, or One-Time Passwords (OTPs).

In the cases of money lost through CPF withdrawals, the fraudsters told their victims to move their CPF monies to the victims’ bank accounts.

After a time, the fake officials would become uncontactable, and/or the victims would reach out to their banks or the SPF through official channels, therefore learning that they had been scammed.

“Government officials will never ask members of the public over the phone to transfer monies to them; or provide their banking credentials or CPF-related information such as CPF balances,” SPF and the CPF Board added.

Everyone is advised 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.

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The public can also check for scam signs through official sources such as the ScamShield WhatsApp bot @ https://go.gov.sg/scamshield-bot, calling the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visiting www.scamalert.sg.

“Never disclose your internet/mobile banking or credit card details such as bank account user ID, passwords, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or OTPs to anyone through phone, email or SMS/messaging applications.

Do not allow anyone to access your bank account(s) or Singpass, and do not authorise any authentication request via digital token or OTP if you did not initiate any internet/mobile banking transaction,” added the advisory. /TISG

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