SINGAPORE, May 12 — The police are warning members of the public against the resurgence of a type of scam where people get phone calls from strangers pretending to be their friends who will ask for financial help.

Since the start of the year, the police said that at least 587 victims have fallen prey to such scams, with total losses amounting to more than S$2.7 million (RM8.5 million).

Just this month alone, there have been at least 43 victims to date, with total losses amounting to more than S$177,000, the police said in a new release today.

In these cases, the victims received phone calls from unknown numbers with the “+” prefix.

Once the call is answered, the callers would not identify themselves but instead confuse the victims with questions such as “Guess who am I?” or “You can’t remember me?”.

Thinking that they were acquainted, the victim would answer with the name of a friend who they thought most resembled the caller’s voice.

The police said that the scammer would then assume the identity of the said friend and would claim to have lost their mobile phone or changed their contact number.

“They will then ask the victims to update their number in their contact list,” the police added.

After a few days, the scammer would then call the victim and ask for loans to help them with their financial difficulties or trouble with the law.

The police said that the victims would then be given Singapore bank account numbers or phone numbers to facilitate a money transfer.

The victims would find out that they have been tricked after contacting their real friends whom the scammers had impersonated.

The police highlighted the precautionary measures that everyone should take against such scams:

Be wary of calls with the “+” prefix, especially when you are not expecting an international call

Beware of unusual requests received from phone calls or messages, even if they appear to be from family or friends

Verify whether the request is legitimate by checking with their family and friends through other means of contact such as meeting in person or through contact details that were given previously

Earlier in March, the police first warned of this sort of scam after more than 280 people lost more than S$1.2 million in this way.

Those with information related to such scams may call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

For more information on scams, visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688. — TODAY