SINGAPORE - Two men aged 22 and 32 have been arrested for impersonating police officers, the police said in a news release on Saturday (May 6).
The police had received three separate reports on Wednesday (May 3) from victims who had received calls from people claiming to be police officers.
The impostors said they were investigating the victims for money laundering and scam-related offences, and transferred the call to other unidentified people who said they were police officers from foreign countries.
The first victim, who was 27, was given a link to an e-service website that was said to be from a foreign law enforcement agency.
The victim was instructed to key in her internet banking credentials on the website, which had the numbers 164579 in its url.
She disclosed her One-Time-Password from her i-banking dongle to the impostor.
Later, the victim found that her bank account had been accessed illegally and about $50,000 transferred to two bank accounts.
The other two victims, aged 21 and 24, were told their bank accounts had been used for money laundering.
They were instructed to withdraw money said to have been deposited into their accounts and pass the cash to one of the two suspects, who claimed he was acting on behalf of the police.
After extensive investigations, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department identified the two suspects and arrested them on Friday (May 5).
They are believed to be involved in at least one other case where a victim lost about $22,000, preliminary investigations show.
If convicted for the offence of dishonestly receiving stolen property, the pair can be jailed up to five years, fined, or both.
Last month, several suspects were arrested for cases of police officer impersonation.
On April 9, two teenagers were arrested for impersonating police officers and using aggressive tactics to get donations from the public.
Earlier that month, the police arrested five other suspects in relation to two cases of police impersonation.
The police in their release advised the public to take the following precautions when receiving unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:
- Ignore the calls. Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.
- Ignore instructions to remit or transfer money. No Government agency will inform you to make a payment through a telephone call, especially to a third party's bank account.
- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details, such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.
- If you have information related to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or dial 999 for urgent police assistance.