$3.3 million lost since October to government-official impersonation scams

An image of a police warrant card and a fake letter with the Singapore Police Force letterhead sent by scammers to the victims. PHOTOS: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - At least $3.3 million have been lost since October to scammers who impersonated police officers from China or Singapore.

The Singapore police said on Friday that there have been at least 51 victims, and the largest sum lost by a single victim was at least $700,000.

The police advise members of the public to be wary of the resurgence of these scams.

The scam variant identified in these recent cases involved victims receiving calls from purported bank officers.

They would claim that the victims’ bank accounts had transaction issues or were involved in money laundering.

During the call, they would transfer victims to a fake police officer who would then send an image of a police warrant card, and tell the victim that he or she was under investigation and would need to contact an “investigation officer” at a given number.

In some cases, this fake officer may also send a letter with the Singapore Police Force letterhead requesting the victim’s assistance for financial inspection and verification of funds.

A fake investigation officer would instruct victims to provide personal particulars such as photos of their identification cards or bank account details.

The victim would also be told to transfer money into a “safe account” for investigation purposes.

Victims realised they were scammed only when they contacted the banks and police through official avenues to check on their purported cases.

The police advise the public to take precautions to avoid falling for such scams and ignore requests to transfer funds to third-party accounts for the purpose of criminal investigations.

The Singapore police will never ask for the control of your bank accounts, monies or passwords, or require you to transfer your monies to another account or send images of your NRIC over the phone.

They would also never identify themselves by sending an image of their warrant card over online communication platforms or disclose your financial information in a letter and tell you that the police are monitoring it.

The public should also refrain from giving out personal information and bank details to callers over the phone, and they should note that calls from the Singapore police do not have the +65 prefix.

“If you receive any documents with the police letterhead, please contact the department which has sent the documents to verify its authenticity,” said the police.

“If in doubt, call 999 or approach a police officer at the Neighbourhood Police Centre near you.”

Those with information on such cases can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit a report online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

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