The Singapore Police Force (SPF) have issued an advisory to the public about scammers pretending to be friends over calls and duping victims into sending money over as financial aid.
According to SPF's May 12 news release, more than S$2.7 million has been swindled from at least 587 victims since the beginning of 2022.
At least 43 people lost at least S$177,000 to scammers in May 2022.
Scammers will call victims via unknown numbers beginning with a "+" prefix in front.
The scammers will not reveal their identity when victims answer their call.
Instead, they will ask them questions like, "You can't remember me?" or "Guess who I am?".
The victims will answer with a familiar friend's name whose voice "most resembled" the scammers', SPF said.
They will then pose as the victims' friends and would tell them that they "lost their mobile phone" or "changed their contact number".
"Friend" needs "help"
Victims would be asked to update the said friend's contact details on their phone list.
The "friend" will call several days later to seek assistance in the form of a loan, citing law-related or financial troubles.
Local bank account numbers or phone numbers will be provided by the scammers to the victims for them to transfer the funds.
"Victims would only discover that they have been scammed after contacting their actual friends whom the scammers had impersonated," SPF said.
The SPF urged the public to take precautionary measures against such scams.
These measures include:
- Being careful with calls beginning with the "+" prefix, especially when you're not expecting an incoming international call
- Being careful when receiving phone calls or messages that request odd favours, even if they seem to be from family and friends
- Verify the legitimacy of such requests by checking with family and friends through alternative contact methods, such as meeting in person or through previously given contact details.
Call the police hotline (1800-255-0000) if you have information on related scams or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
You can visit www.scamalert.sg to learn more about the different types of scams or call the anti-scam hotline (1800-722-6688).
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Top photo by by Jamie Street