The Police have observed a re-emergence of the phone impersonation scam. In the latest variant, members of the public would typically receive phone calls from scammers claiming to be officers from the Supreme Court or staff from Singtel informing them of the following:

A mobile number registered in their name was involved in a crime;

There was a pending case in court against them; and/or

They had committed a criminal offence and were required to assist in investigations

The scammer would then direct the recipient to provide their personal details and particulars, including internet banking credentials and One-Time Passwords for investigation purposes. In some cases, the call would be transferred to another person who would identify himself as a Police officer from China. Recipients might be shown a copy of a warrant for their arrest from the China Police and threatened with imprisonment if they did not cooperate. Subsequently, the recipients would discover that monies had been transferred from their bank account to unknown bank accounts.

Scammers have also been known to instruct recipients to transfer a sum of money using Bitcoin vending machines. These scammers would send a QR code and ask them to scan it at the Bitcoin vending machine before depositing their money into the machine. There were also some cases where the recipients were asked to withdraw money from their bank accounts to be handed over to a Government Officer for verification purposes. The scammers kept the recipients on the phone line to ensure that they did not have time to verify if it was a scam.

The Police would like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:

a. Don't panic � Ignore the calls and caller's instructions. No government agency will request for personal details or transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.

b. Don't believe � 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 a while, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.

c. Don't give � Do not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details. Such information are useful to criminals.

Source:Singapore Police Force