The Police would like to alert members of the public to a resurgence of a variant of Government Official Impersonation scams, where scammers would impersonate officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to convince victims to transfer their monies to third party bank accounts. In October 2022, there were at least 24 victims with total losses amounting to at least $1.5 million. The largest sum lost by a single victim was at least $199,000.
In this scam variant:
- Members of the public would receive calls from purported bank officers seeking confirmation if they had purchased a high value branded bag from Changi Airport with their credit card. When victim denied possessing such a credit card or making the purchase, the scammer would inform the victim that the bank would investigate the unauthorised transactions and advise the victim to lodge a police report. The victim would then be transferred to another scammer to assist the victim to lodge the report.
- A second scammer would impersonate an SPF officer and direct the victim to send a Whatsapp message to begin lodging a police report. After the victim initiates contact with the second scammer via Whatsapp, they would receive an image of a forged SPF warrant card with the purported officer’s name to gain the victim’s trust. The scammer would ask the victim to provide their personal and bank details, including bank account balances and the credit card number/s, to lodge the police report. Subsequently, the scammer would send the victim a forged police report via Whatsapp. The second scammer would also inform the victim that he was linked to a financial crime investigation and was required to contact the Investigation Officer at a given contact number.
- Upon contacting the third scammer masquerading as the Investigation Officer, the victim would be advised to transfer their monies into a safe account to prove their innocence. The victim would be reassured that the monies would be returned to them after 48 hours.
- Victims would only realised that they had been scammed when they have contacted their bank or the Police via the official avenues to check on their cases.
The public is advised to take the following precautions when they are asked to transfer funds to third party accounts for the purpose of criminal investigations:
- Ignore the request. Real Police officers will never (i) ask for the control of your bank accounts, monies or passwords; (ii) require you to transfer your monies to another account; (iii) identify themselves by sending an image of the SPF warrant card over online platforms;
- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, or One-Time Password (OTP) codes from tokens, are useful to criminals. Do not make any fund transfer(s) at the behest of such callers;
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively; and
- If in doubt, call ‘999’ or approach a police office at the Neighbourhood Police Centre near you.
If you have information related to such cases, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.
For scam-related advice, please call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg. Join the ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victim.
Photo of Fake Singapore Police Force Warrant Card
PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
21 October 2022 @ 6:15 PM