MOF warns of Solidarity Payment scammers pretending to be government officials

The Ministry of Finance issued a warning about the scams in a Facebook post. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FINANCE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Scammers are pretending to be Ministry of Finance (MOF) or government officials to trick the public into disclosing their bank account details to purportedly register for the Solidarity Package payout.

The MOF issued a warning about the scams in a Facebook post on Monday (April 13).

"MOF would never ask for (users') bank account details over the phone or via e-mail," the ministry said.

Online transactions with government agencies require users to log in with their SingPass, it added.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat urged the public to be wary of these scams, too. On Tuesday, he said on Facebook that government officers would also not ask for people's personal data over e-mail or over the phone.

Mr Heng said that he recently had to make a police report after coming across a scam using his image and name.

"We must remain vigilant against those who are unscrupulous and seeking to take advantage of our people, especially the vulnerable, during this period," he added.

"They divert valuable public resources, but the enforcement agencies will investigate, and if they are caught, we will press for deterrent sentences."

On April 6, the Government announced that all Singaporeans aged 21 and above will receive a one-off payout of $600 to tide them over the Covid-19 outbreak as it enhanced the payout for a second time in as many months.

Later on April 7, the Government said that permanent residents aged 21 and older with Singaporean parents, spouses or children will be eligible for a one-off payment of $300.

Eligible recipients of the Solidarity Payment who have not previously provided bank account details to the Government for such payouts should submit the details only through official websites.

Singapore citizens can do so at this website, and PRs can submit their details here.

In its Facebook post, MOF warned the public against responding to unfamiliar e-mails, text messages or phone calls purportedly from MOF concerning Budget 2020 benefits. They should also refrain from clicking on suspicious e-mail links.

Those who suspect they have fallen prey to a phishing scam should lodge a police report immediately, secure online accounts, and contact their banks if necessary.

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