Woman loses $80,000 in scam involving fake police website

Screenshot of fake police website where a victim keyed in her Internet banking details. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - A 41-year-old woman lost more than $80,000 after falling prey to a scammer posing as a police officer.

The victim, who reported her loss to the police on Wednesday (Sept 21), received a call from a stranger who claimed to be a police officer.

The caller accused her of being involved in money laundering activities, and provided her with a link to a website.

There, she keyed in her personal details and Internet banking credentials on the site.

The caller told her the information would be used for police investigation.

Later, the victim discovered that multiple unauthorised transactions were made from her Internet banking account, resulting in a loss of more than $80,000.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the website bore resemblance to the Singapore Police Force's website, in particular the "E-Services" page.

Police clarified that the official police force website is www.police.gov.sg.

Last month, two men in their 30s were arrested for their suspected involvement in a scam in which they impersonated police officers in a similar scam.

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

a. Ignore the calls. Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.

b. Ignore instructions to remit or transfer money. No government agency will inform you to make a payment through a telephone call, especially to a third party's bank account.

c. Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as Internet bank account user names and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.

e. If you have information related to such crime or if you are in doubt, please call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Please dial 999 if you require urgent Police assistance.

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