S’pore man claims he received “phishing bill” from Singtel. Singtel says it’s legit.

Gotta be very careful with spreading misinformation these days.

By Jeanette Tan | May 23, 2018

In the age of fake news and scams abounding left, right and centre, through all kinds of means — phone calls, SMSes, emails and even at some point snail mail, it’s easy to be suspicious of anything out of the ordinary that may come your way.

Like one Clarence Tan, who became convinced that he had received a “phishing” mail bill from Singapore’s largest telco Singtel:

Photo via Clarence Tan’s Facebook post

His Facebook post on May 21, 2018 in brief:

– He received this bill, mailed to him in a Singtel envelope
– He said he isn’t a Singtel customer
– When he called Singtel to enquire about it, the person who spoke to him allegedly told him it is a “phishing mail and had been ongoing for some time”, even allegedly adding that they have received “countless calls about this”.
– He mentioned a subsequent call to Singtel, where he was told that the account number listed in his bill was not valid, but the bill ID number was legitimate.
– He also claimed the PO Box address listed in the Singtel letter he received did not correspond to a PO Box address he Googled.

“TLDR; I received a phishing mail that looks exactly like Singtel’s letter asking me to pay $8.35.”

Tan concluded his post with a helpful advisory and a hyperlink urging people who receive similar things to file a police report online, but also noted that one should first check with Singtel “before determining that yours is not a legit one”.

Here’s his original Facebook post:

Here’s the thing: It’s legit

So we checked with Singtel, and on Wednesday, their folks published the following statement on their Facebook page:

As it turns out, the bill he received is legitimate, and was likely the balance that he had in credit (note the $8.35- in the bill) from his old terminated account.

The statement added that the telco is moving its customer accounts to a new billing system, with these bills being the final ones for accounts that were terminated — also, they will follow up with folks like Tan who received these curious bills out of the blue.

Their customer service officer who spoke to Tan in all likelihood told him the wrong thing.

If you can’t see the post, here’s what it says:

“We would like to clarify and respond to Mr Clarence Tan’s Facebook post where he questions the authenticity of a recent Singtel bill he received.

We would like to inform Mr Tan and our customers that the bills in question are indeed issued by Singtel and are accurate. We are currently in the process of moving all customer accounts to a new billing system and these bills are determined to be the final bills of terminated accounts. We will follow up with affected customers where applicable.

We are sorry that our customer care officer had incorrectly informed Mr Tan that the bill was a scam.

We regret any confusion and inconvenience caused.”

The good thing is, Tan has since revised the copy of his post — regrettably, only after it was shared by more than 3,900 people though:

How fast misinformation moves these days, well-intentioned as it might be.

Top photo adapted from Clarence Tan’s Facebook post, Singtel’s Facebook post

About Jeanette Tan

Jeanette takes pride in her ability to sing the complete lyrics to Hakuna Matata and a host of other Disney songs. She holds out hope to someday be talent-spotted to do voice-overs for documentaries, lifts and automated telephone answering systems.

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