In new ‘technical support’ scam in Singapore, scammers pose as Singtel staff or cybercrime police

Since last month, at least 21 cases of this nature have been reported, with more than S$1.5 million lost, said the police. — AFP pic
Since last month, at least 21 cases of this nature have been reported, with more than S$1.5 million lost, said the police. — AFP pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 — The police have alerted the public about a new type of scam, in which scammers pose as technical support staff from Singtel or the Singapore Police Force and ask victims to download software that would help them gain access to the victims’ bank accounts.

In one version of the ruse, the scammer would tell the victim that they are a staff of Singtel, and that there are issues with the victim’s modem or Internet connection, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a statement today.

Sometimes, these scammers instead pose as someone from the “Cyber Crime Department of Singapore” or the “Cyber Police of Singapore”, and accuse victims of having committed a criminal offence.

The scammers would then tell victims to download software applications like “Teamviewer” or “AnyDesk” to either help “resolve” their Internet connection issues or to assist in bogus investigations. 

Once the software applications were installed on the victims’ computers, the scammers would use them to access the victims’ computers remotely and request the victims to log onto their online bank accounts. Once they are logged in, the scammers would transfer funds out of these bank accounts without the victims’ consent. 

Since last month, at least 21 cases of this nature have been reported, with more than S$1.5 million (RM4.6 million) lost, said the police. 

Should members of public fall for the scam, they should: 

  • Turn off their computer to halt further activities on their computer.
  • Report the incident to their bank to halt further activities on their bank accounts.
  • Change their iBanking credentials and remove any unauthorised payee added to their bank accounts.
  • Report the matter to the police.

The police also advised members of the public to be wary of unsolicited calls from people claiming that they are staff of telecommunication service providers or from a government agency, “even if they claim there are issues with your telecommunication devices or allege that you are implicated in a criminal offence.”

No telecommunication service provider or government agency would request for personal details or access to online bank accounts, nor would they request transfers of money over the phone or through automated voice machines, the police said.

The statement noted that scammers could use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number that they are calling from, and display a different number.  

The SPF also advised members of the public not to follow instructions to install applications or type commands into their computers, nor to follow instructions to log onto their online banking accounts. 

“You should also not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details when the callers request for the information,” the police said.

“When in doubt, always call the official hotline of your telecommunication service provider to verify. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act as you may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.”

Should the public wish to provide any information on such scams, they may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

For scam-related advice, the Public may call the National Crime Prevention Council’s anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg. — TODAY

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