Scammer pretending to be S'pore ICA officer calls real S'pore ICA officer

Really BBQ.

Belmont Lay | October 25, 2022, 07:55 PM

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And so it has happened.

A scammer pretending to be an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer called a real ICA officer in Singapore who played along for a little bit before telling the fraudster he was being a fraud.

The entire interaction, which lasted barely 2 minutes, was recorded for posterity.

A video of the exchange was put up on the ICA Facebook page where it has been watched more than 200,000 times in eight hours -- a clear sign people here are sick and tired of receiving nuisance scam calls and wanting to see the scammer being told off outright.

What video showed

The video started with the real ICA officer, Kelvin Teo, keying in "5" on his phone keypad after receiving an automated voice message.

The recommended step for the general public is to hang up at this point.

However, Teo played along to try to get the scammer on the line to be recorded.

A non-recorded voice picked up the call and introduced himself: "Hello, good morning, this is ICA immigration bureau."

One person off-camera could be heard sniggering at this point.

Teo then asked if there was any issue with his passport.

The scammer replied in halting, broken English: "Uh, our system show (sic) your passport has issues. Can you verify (sic) me your name so I can check with the computer system?"

Continuing to play along, Teo said his name was "Dong Bee Lee."

Referring to him as "Mr Dong", the scammer said he was going to check his "file" now.

After a few seconds of sounds of someone typing on the keyboard, the scammer told Mr Dong his "passport information got error" and the passport cannot be used.

The scammer then told Mr Dong to hand over his NRIC details to rectify the issue.

Told scammer off

At this point, Teo then replied that a personnel supposedly from the ICA would already have his personal information.

However, the scammer tried to keep up with the ruse by saying that the passport would be cancelled if Mr Dong did not comply with the instructions of handing over his personal details.

This was when Teo struck.

He said: "Okay wait, wait, wait. I'm also an ICA officer working at the headquarters. And we will never ask for personal details. That's why I don't believe you."

The scammer then hung up the phone promptly as he knew the game was up.

According to CNA in a recent exposé, the scammers might be victims who are lured into criminal activity by a syndicate, while others might be scamming willingly, attracted by the easy money, as well as fugitives from justice in their own countries.

Top photos via ICA