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Friday, December 13th, 2019

TECHNICAL SUPPORT SCAMS INVOLVING REMOTE CONTROL OF VICTIMS’ BANK ACCOUNTS BY SCAMMERS IMPERSONATING STAFF OF LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDER OR POLICE OFFICERS

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by November 15, 2019 General

The Police would like to remind the public to be wary of scams in which victims lost monies to phone scammers claiming to be technical support staff who needed to perform repair actions on the victims’ computers. From January to October 2019, at least 156 reports of these scams were lodged, with victims losing at least S$6 million. In October 2019, at least 50 victims fell prey to a variant of this scam in which the scammers impersonate local telecommunication service providers or Police officers and gain access to the victims’ computers remotely.

In such cases, victims would receive unsolicited phone calls from scammers impersonating staff of local telecommunication service providers such as Singtel and Starhub. The scammers would deceive victims into believing that there were issues with their modem or internet connection and would direct the victims to download and install software applications such as ‘Teamviewer’ or ‘AnyDesk’ onto their computers on the pretext that doing so would give them remote access to the victim’s computers in order to help resolve the issues.

In other cases, the scammers would claim to be from the ‘Cyber Crime Department of Singapore’ or the ‘Cyber Police of Singapore’, and deceive victims that they had committed a criminal offence. The scammers would then direct the victims to download and install the abovementioned software applications on the pretext that doing so would assist in the investigations.

Once the software applications were installed on the victims’ computers, the scammers would use them to access the victims’ computers remotely and request the victims to log into their online bank accounts. When the victims were logged into their bank accounts, the scammers would then transfer funds out of their bank accounts without their consent.

If members of the public have fallen prey to such scam, they should immediately:

a. Turn off their computer to halt further activities on their computer.;

b. Report the incident to their bank to halt further activities on their bank accounts;

c. Change their iBanking credentials and remove any unauthorised payee added to their bank accounts;

d. Refrain from giving any One-Time-Passwords (OTPs) for banking transactions to the other party; and

e. Report the matter to the Police.

Members of the public are advised to adopt the following preventive measures:

a. Beware of unsolicited calls from persons claiming that they are staff of telecommunication service providers or from a government agency, even if they claim there are issues with your telecommunication devices or allege that you are implicated in a criminal offence. Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number.

b. Do not panic and do not follow instructions to install applications or type commands into your computer or log into your online banking accounts. You should also not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details when the callers request for the information. When in doubt, always call the official hotline of your telecommunication service provider to verify. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act as you may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.

c. Ignore the calls and caller’s instructions. No telecommunication service provider or government agency will request for personal details or access to your online bank account and do transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act as you may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.

If you wish to provide any information related to such scams, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

To seek scam-related advice, you may call the National Crime Prevention Council’s anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg. Join the ‘Let’s Fight Scams’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next scam victim.

Source: Singapore Police Force

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