Over S$600,000 lost in new scam involving SMSes supposedly from victims' banks: SPF

Beware of unsolicited messages, police said.

Nigel Chua | July 28, 2020, 03:25 PM

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that at least 82 reports of a new scam variant have resulted in over S$600,000 of losses, from January to May 2020.

Spoofed SMSes

Victims of such scams would receive a spoofed short messaging service (SMS) message purporting to be from their bank, according to an advisory from SPF issued on July 28.

The messages inform customers that their bank accounts have been "suspended" or "blocked".

Screenshots of the messages sent to victims, provided by SPF, show that the scam SMSes seem to be sent from the bank, and appear in the same conversation thread as other messages such as those containing One-Time Passwords (OTPs).

Image via SPF news release.

Directed to call number for assistance

The victims would then be directed to call a specified phone number in order to resolve the issue.

Upon calling the number, victims would be asked for their personal particulars, internet banking details, as well as OTPs, by scammers pretending to be bank staff.

Scammers would then use this information to make unauthorised transactions.

Beware of unsolicited messages

"Beware of unsolicited messages or calls from persons impersonating as staff from banks", SPF said in its advisory.

The advisory added that spoofing technology can be used by scammers to mask their actual phone number.

This allows them to display the bank's name, number, and logo on their profile picture.

SPF said that this can be done on various platforms, including Viber, WhatsApp, and in SMS messages.

Members of the public are also advised that banks and government agencies "will never ask you to disclose your internet

banking details to them."

They should also call hotlines on their banks' websites, to verify the authenticity of any suspicious messages or calls, and not call any numbers provided via SMS.

Anti-scam helpline

To provide information related to such scams:

  • Call the Police hotline: 1800-255-0000
  • Submit information online: www.police.gov.sg/iwitness
  • For urgent Police assistance: dial 999

To seek scam-related advice:

Top image via SPF