4 people arrested for alleged involvement in phishing scams targeting bank customers

These victims received unsolicited SMS messages stating that their cards had been suspended temporarily. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Four people have been arrested for their suspected involvement in phishing scams that targeted bank customers.

The police said on Saturday (Aug 20) that they received several reports of these scams in August, with one victim suffering a loss of about $940.

The victims received unsolicited SMS messages stating that their bank cards had been suspended temporarily. The SMS directed them to sign in and verify their identity via an embedded link, which actually led to a spoofed Internet banking login page.

Victims would be asked to key in their login and bank card details, as well as one-time passwords (OTPs), which allowed the scammers to access their accounts and drain their funds.

Officers from the Police Intelligence Department and Commercial Affairs Department arrested the scammers in an islandwide operation between Aug 18 and 19.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the four - three men and a woman aged between 34 and 46 - were allegedly involved in sending mass messages to more than 100 random phone users in Singapore.

The police said: "They are believed to be working with overseas syndicate members and were planning to perpetrate more similar phishing scams in Singapore."

The four will be charged in court on Saturday with conspiracy to access a computer with intent to commit an offence.

Offenders, if convicted, can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $50,000, or both.

The police advise members of the public to verify the authenticity of claims of bank account or card problems with the official bank website or sources, and report any fraudulent transactions to their bank immediately.

"Bank officers will never ask for your bank details or OTPs via SMS. Do not click on dubious URL links provided in unsolicited e-mails and text messages," the police added.

Those with information related to such crimes can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it at this website.

More scam-related advice can be found at this website or via the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.

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