4 arrested for alleged involvement in phishing scams targeting bank customers

Three men and a woman have been arrested for their suspected involvement in a series of bank phishing scams that targeted bank customers.

The police said in a statement on Saturday (Aug 20) that they received several reports of these scams in August, with one victim losing about $940.

Victims received unsolicited SMS messages stating that their bank accounts had been suspended temporarily and they wereadvised to reactivate their accounts by clicking an embedded URL link.

SMS phishing message sent by the syndicate. PHOTO: SPF

The link led to a spoofed Internet banking log-in page where they would be asked to key in their login and bank card details, as well as one-time passwords (OTPs).

This allowed the scammers to access their accounts and drain their funds.

Exhibits seized from the syndicate. PHOTO: SPF

Victims later realised they had been scammed when they discovered unauthorised transactions made from their bank accounts.

Officers from the Police Intelligence Department and Commercial Affairs Department arrested the scammers in an islandwide operation between Aug 18 and 19.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the four, aged between 34 and 46, were allegedly involved in sending mass SMS messages to more than 100 random phone users in Singapore.

The police said: ""They are believed to be working with overseas syndicate members and were planning to perpetrate more similar phishing scams in Singapore."

They will be charged in court with conspiracy to access a computer with inent to commit an offence.

If convicted, they can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $50,000, or both.

The police advise members of the public to follow these crime prevention measures:

  1. Bank officers will never ask for your bank details or OTPs via SMS;

  2. Do not click on dubious URL links provided in unsolicited emails and text messages;

  3. Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources;

  4. Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone; and

  5. Report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately.

Those with information related to such crimes can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it at this website.

More scam-related advice can be found at this website or via the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.