Victims lose more than $1 million to China phone scam: Police

So far, victims have lost more than $1 million to the phone scam.
So far, victims have lost more than $1 million to the phone scam. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

SINGAPORE - Close to 400 reports have been lodged by members of the public who received scam phone calls in which they were told that their identities were used in illegal activities overseas, the police said on Saturday (April 16).

The victims first received calls from people claiming to be employees of courier companies or banks in China and were told that their identities were used to send parcels containing fake passports or weapons, or were used to apply for overseas credit cards.

They were then referred to another caller claiming to be a customs officer, a police officer or a government official from China and asked to provide their personal particulars, including name, identification number, address, passport number and bank account numbers.

Some complainants were threatened with legal action and were instructed to remit money to China so that the "authorities" would not pursue the matter.

So far, victims have lost more than $1 million to this scam, police said.

It advised members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:

  • Ignore such calls and the caller's instructions.
  • Do not provide name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details to the callers. Such information are useful to criminals.
  • Do not make any fund transfers. No government agency will instruct payment through a telephone call and direct you to pay to a third party's bank account.

Members of the public who have information related to such crimes can call the police hotline at 1800-255 0000, or dial 999 for urgent police assistance.