Fake police site phishing for confidential information claims victim's Web browser 'blocked'

Scammers are using a Web browser's full-screen mode to show a victim a Windows 10 desktop image displaying the fake Singapore Police Force website. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force has warned the public of a fake police website that tries to trick people into giving up confidential information by claiming that their Web browsers have been "blocked".

This is the latest version of similar scams that have cropped up in recent years.

In a statement on Tuesday (Jan 28), the police said that scammers are using a Web browser's full-screen mode to show a victim a Windows 10 desktop image displaying the fake Singapore Police Force website. The image fills up the whole screen of a victim's computer.

The fake site alleges that the victim's Web browser has been "blocked due to (the) viewing and dissemination of materials forbidden by (the) law of Singapore", namely pornographic material.

The victim may also be led into thinking that his computer has been locked because the scam display, being mostly an image, does not allow him to click on the "Start" menu, or close and open applications.

The fake site goes on to inform the victim that his Web browser will be unlocked after paying a $1,000 fine through a credit card. He is also told that the fine must be paid within six hours. If he does not comply, the site says bogus criminal proceedings will be initiated against him.

The victim is asked to enter his credit card details - such as the card number, his name, card expiry date, and card verification value (CVV) - on the fake site to purportedly pay the fine.

The police said that such websites are actually phishing sites in disguise that are designed to extract a victim's personal information and banking details. This could lead to monetary losses as scammers would use these details to make unauthorised purchases and transactions.

The police added that they do not have access to lock a person's desktop computer, and clarified that the official Singapore Police Force website address is www.police.gov.sg.

If a person encounters the latest fake police website, the police advised that he should press his computer's Alt+Tab keys to see if it is possible for him to return back to his normal desktop display.

The victim can also try pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys to open the computer's task manager to end any Web browser processes.

He should also refrain from giving out his personal information and bank details, such as Internet bank account user name and password, as well as one-time password codes from tokens. Such information is useful to criminals.

This is the latest variation on the fake police website scam. In November last year, the police warned of a fake Singapore Police Force website that resurfaced, and that they have been issuing advisories on the matter as far back as 2017.

For the November fake website alert, the police said then that a victim got a call from someone claiming to be from the police.

The person alleged the victim was involved in illegal activities and the call was transferred to someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer in China, who then directed her to a website resembling the Singapore Police Force website.

The victim was then instructed to key in her bank account details, password and one-time password.

After that, the victim realised money had been transferred from her bank account without her consent.

For those in doubt or have information related to the latest fake police website scam or similar crimes, they can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or visit www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

People that need urgent police assistance can call 999.

To get scam-related advice, the public can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.

Members of the public can also join the "Let's fight scams" campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up to receive up-to-date messages and share them with their family and friends.

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