Police warn of spoof SMSes, with bank customers cheated of $600,000 from Jan to May

The police advised members of the public to be careful of unsolicited messages from people impersonating bank staff.
The police advised members of the public to be careful of unsolicited messages from people impersonating bank staff.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Scammers targeting bank customers in Singapore have cheated victims of at least $600,000 from January to May, the police said on Tuesday (July 28).

The police said in a statement that they had received 82 reports of a new variant of a scam in which customers would receive an SMS message claiming that their bank accounts had been suspended or deactivated.

These spoof messages, which appear in the same thread as the official messages from local banks, would direct customers to call a specified phone number for assistance.

Scammers impersonating as bank staff would answer the call and ask victims for their personal particulars, Internet banking details and one-time passwords.

After providing their details, the victims would subsequently discover that unauthorised transactions were made from their bank accounts.

The police advised members of the public to be careful of unsolicited messages or calls from people impersonating as bank staff.

Scammers might use spoofing technology to mask their actual phone number to display the bank's name, number and logo on messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp, and on SMS messages.

The public should also not disclose their banking details or respond to any authentication requests if they did not initiate any Internet banking transaction, police said.

Those who receive a suspicious message or call purporting to be from their bank should verify it by calling the hotline published on the bank's website and not the number provided in the SMS.

 
 

People who wish to provide information on such scams may call the police on 1800-255-0000, or send the information online at the i-Witness website.

For scam-related advice, they can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit the Scam Alert website.