In September this year, two victims, aged 51 and 74, nearly lost their savings to scammers impersonating tech support staff from a local telecommunications company.
Victims of tech support scams
The first victim was deceived into believing that his home WiFi was being used for criminal activities.
He was then convinced to download a remote desktop software onto his laptop called "Ultraviewer".
Thereafter, the scammers were able to gain control of his laptop and attempted to transfer money out of the victim’s OCBC bank account.
Similarly, the second victim was told that his WiFi had been tapped, and was being used for illegal purposes.
The victim was also instructed to download a file that granted the scammer remote access to his laptop.
He then divulged his OCBC internet banking details to the scammer when requested.
Fortunately, several OCBC Bank officers stopped funds transfers of more than S$300,000 belonging to both victims, and the scammers' plans were thwarted.
The two transactions were detected to be suspicious through the bank‘s Fraud Surveillance System, and when contacted by the bank staff to verify the authenticity of these transactions, the victims were still unaware of the scam.
Eventually, bank staff stopped the fraudulent transactions and ensured that both victims‘ money were still intact.
The victims were later informed that they had been scammed.
What to do
In tech support scams, victims would typically receive calls from persons claiming to be from local telecommunications companies or government agencies.
After being fed an alarming excuse, they would then be advised to download and install remote desktop softwares that will enable the scammers to access their devices.
The scammers would also request for the victim’s internet banking details and one-time passwords (OTPs).
The police also advise members of the public to be aware of such unsolicited calls, and to ignore the caller’s instructions under such circumstances.
No telecommunications service provider or government agency will request for personal details or access to a user's online bank account, the police warned.
If you've fallen prey to a tech support scam, here are five steps you should take immediately:
- Turn off your computer to halt further activities on it.
- Report the incident to your bank to halt further activities on your bank accounts.
- Change your iBanking credentials and remove any unauthorised payee added to your bank accounts.
- Refrain from giving out any one-time passwords (OTPs) for banking transactions to another party.
- Report the matter to the police.
If any member of the public has information related to such crimes or are in doubt, they can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online.
Otherwise, seek scam-related advice by visiting this website or calling the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688.
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Top image via Unsplash.