Singapore Police Force (SPF) has arrested three men, aged between 20 and 44, for their suspected involvement in two cases of impersonation of police officer scam.
The police said that in both cases, the victims had received calls from unknown persons who claimed to be police officers and they were told that they were being investigated for money laundering and scam offences.
The calls were then transferred to unknown persons who identified themselves to be police officers from a foreign country.
For the first report lodged on 22 March 2017, the 31-year-old victim was provided with a link to an e-service website purportedly from the Singapore Police Force, http://7958465.tk/index.html.
The victim was then instructed to key in his internet banking credentials on the website and also disclosed his One-Time-Password (OTP) from his Internet banking dongle to the impersonator.
Subsequently, the victim discovered that his bank account was accessed illegally without his knowledge and about S$35,000 had been transferred to an unknown bank account.
For the second report lodged on 27 March 2017, the 47-year-old victim was asked to apply for an Internet banking dongle and also provide her internet banking credentials to the impersonator.
Subsequently, the victim discovered that her bank account had been tampered with without her knowledge. About S$34,000 was missing, and similar to the first report lodged, the money had been transferred to an unknown bank account.
Following the reports, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducted extensive investigative enquiries.
According to the police, the identities of the three suspects were subsequently established by the officers and the trio were arrested on 27 March 2017.
The police said that preliminary investigations revealed that they are believed to be involved in at least three other similar cases in which the victims had suffered losses amounting to a total of about S$90,000.
Two of the suspects, aged 20 and 22, will be charged in Court on 29 March 2017 with the offence of Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property under Section 411(1) of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, which carries an imprisonment term of up to five years, or with fine, or with both. Investigations against the third suspect are still ongoing.
Director CID (Covering), Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Sekher Warrier, said, “I wish to commend all the officers involved for the hard work in tracking down the suspects. Offenders who think that they can hide behind the anonymity of the internet will be brought to justice swiftly.”
The police stress that the official SPF website can only be accessed at www.police.gov.sg. They also advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:
- 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.
- 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.
- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.
- If you have information related to such crime or if you are in doubt, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or dial 999 for urgent Police assistance.
To seek scam-related advice, the police reminds members of the public to call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688.