SINGAPORE - Scammers are claiming they have authorisation from the Singapore courts to seize people's property if the victims do not pay them thousands of dollars to stop the process.
In a statement on Friday (July 15), the Singapore courts said they are aware of a new phone scam where criminals claim to represent a law firm seeking to enforce a court order allegedly issued by the Singapore courts.
Having obtained the residential address of the victims, scammers use the information to convince them to divulge their names, NRIC numbers and bank account details, under the pretext of verifying this information.
They then ask the victims to transfer about $3,000 to stop the enforcement order to seize their homes and belongings.
In Singapore, a court order known as a writ of distress usually applies in cases where landlords seize a tenant's possessions to sell to recover unpaid rent.
On Friday, the courts reminded people not to release personal information over the phone to anyone claiming to represent a law firm.
The courts said that if a copy of a court order is provided, it can be verified online using the service known as Authentic Court Orders at this website.
An authentic court order has a nine-character unique access code and a case number.
Members of the public who receive such calls can request to see the physical court order, seek legal advice or both.
Other warning signs that such phone calls are not legitimate include the scammer asking victims to call 6336-0644, a past Supreme Court number that is no longer in use, for further verification.
The public should also be wary if the incoming calls contain a +65 prefix, as these usually come from overseas.
The courts also clarified that any requests for payment or personal details will not be initiated through phone calls.
All information required by the courts will be sent via a Registrar's Notice or correspondence from the Supreme Court, State Courts, or Family Justice Courts.
Those who wish to provide information related to such scams can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000.
For scam-related advice, they can call 1800-722-6688 or visit this website.