Victim loses $199,000 to scammers posing as police officers

The police have said that they do not ask members of the public to provide details such as their bank account information and passwords, or to transfer money to any bank accounts. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A single victim lost at least $199,000 in October to a government official impersonation scam.

In a statement on Friday, the police said that in this latest kind of scam, victims will receive unsolicited phone calls from scammers who would identify themselves as bank staff, and alert the victims to financial transactions made on the victim's card. The unsolicited phone calls come with a "+65" prefix.

When the victims deny making these transactions, the scammers will proceed to transfer the victims to a "police officer" for investigation, who in actual fact is another scammer using the name of a real police officer.

After gaining the trust of the victims, the scammers will ask them to provide personal information and bank details, and to transfer money out from their own bank accounts to other bank accounts.

According to the police, victims of this scam variant will realise they were scammed only when they find out about the unauthorised transactions or when they do not get back the money they had transferred out of the accounts for the purpose of the "investigation".

There have been several cases of people receiving such phone calls, however so far only one person has lost money to the scam.

The police have said that they do not ask members of the public to provide details such as their bank account information and passwords, or to transfer money to any bank accounts.

They added that no local government agency will instruct payment through undocumented media such as the telephone or social messaging platforms, or ask for personal banking information.

Members of the public are advised to ignore calls with the "+" prefix which originate from overseas, to never share their Singpass, bank account details and one-time passwords with anyone and to always verify any information with official websites in case of uncertainty.

For more information on scams, visit the scam alert website or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on scams can call the police hotline on 1800-225-0000, or submit the information online at this website

Responding to The Straits Times' queries, the police said on Tuesday that the lone victim lost $199,000 in a one day through three transactions.

The police declined to provide details of the victim, but they said: "The money was not recovered."

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