How to avoid falling prey to China officials impersonation scams

This particular scam variant involves scammers telling victims they are being investigated for crimes committed in China. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

SINGAPORE - Since January this year, there have been 109 victims who have lost at least $14.6 million to tricksters in China officials impersonation scams.

This particular scam variant involves scammers telling victims they are being investigated for crimes committed in China.

In some cases, victims were instructed to provide their bank account login details, Singpass login details and one-time password (OTP) to the scammers.

The victims would only realise that they had fallen prey when they discovered unauthorised transactions made to their bank accounts.

The police clarified last month that overseas law enforcement agencies have no jurisdiction to conduct operations in Singapore, arrest anyone, or ask members of the public to help with any form of investigation without the approval of the Singapore Government.

Urging the public to be vigilant, they advise people to be wary of calls with the "+" prefix, which originate from overseas, and ignore the caller's instructions.

People should never give their personal information such as Singpass login details, bank account login details and OTP to anyone.

No government agency will ask for payment through phone calls or social messaging platforms such as WeChat, WhatsApp or Facebook, or ask for personal banking information such as Internet banking passwords.

If in doubt, members of the public should verify the authenticity of the information from the scammers with the official website or sources, or speak to a trusted friend or relative first.

If they notice a fraudulent transaction involving their bank accounts, they should report it to the bank immediately.

For issues relating to Singpass, the public may contact the Singpass help desk on 6335-3533 or support@singpass.gov.sg

Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or visit the I-Witness website to submit information. Those who require urgent police assistance should call 999.

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