The Singapore Police Force (SPF) released an advisory cautioning the public against increasingly prevalent phone scams.
Scammers would impersonate staff from Singtel or Starhub. They would call victims and report problems about the modem and/or internet connection.
Other times, scammers would say they are from the “Cyber Police of Singapore” and would intimidate the victims about a criminal offence.
The victims would then be told to install “remote access” software such as Team Viewer or AnyDesk into their computers. The impersonators would argue that they need to access the victim’s computers in order to resolve the connectivity issues or assist in the investigation.
When the victims install the software, the scammers can access their computers remotely and see when the victims log in to their bank accounts.
The scammers then transfer the funds out of the victim’s accounts without them knowing.
SPF reported that an estimated S$6million has been lost due to phone scams such as these. Police received 156 reports of these scams from January to October 2019.
They advised the public to remain vigilant and avoid falling victim to scams through the following preventive measures:
- Beware of unsolicited calls from telecommunication staff or government agency. Scammers reportedly use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask their identity and fool unknowing victims.
- Do not panic. Under any circumstance, do not install applications and software into your computer or log in to your online bank account.
- Do not provide your personal information, contact details, or banking details.
- Call the official hotline of the telecommunications provider and the government agency.
Victims are advised to immediately turn off their computers if they have fallen prey to the scam. They should then report the incident immediately to the bank and change their banking credentials.
The public may report any cybercrime-related incident to the SPF hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
TeamViewer was at the centre of a massive data breach in 2016.
Several users also reported that their computers were remotely accessed through TeamViewer by unauthorised persons who then stole funds off their PayPal accounts or purchased several items on eBay and Amazon./TISG
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