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At least 26 people have lost at least $37,000 this month to phishing scams where scammers would impersonate a bank and target victims through SMSes, said police.
In one version of the scam, you would receive unsolicited SMSes with sender IDs such as “+1 (800) 11” or “+168730”, claiming that your account had been locked as the bank had noticed something amiss.
The SMS would contain a clickable link.
Upon clicking on the link, you would be directed to a spoofed Internet banking log-in page to key in your online banking username and password.
You would then be required to key in the One-Time Passwords (OTPs) received on your mobile phone, thereby providing authorisation to the scammers to access your online bank account and transfer your money out to other parties.
In another version of the scam, you would receive unsolicited SMSes with sender IDs such as “SMSAlert” claiming that your card had been locked due to security issues.
The SMS would direct you to chat with or call the operator of a WhatsApp number for more details or reactivation of your card.
Upon initiating contact, you would be informed that your account had been frozen due to unusual activity and would be directed to provide your personal and banking details for verification.
Next, you would receive a genuine SMS with an OTP. The scammer would ask for the OTP, claiming that it would be used to reset your account.
After you provide the OTP, you would receive a genuine SMS stating that your Internet banking username and/or password had been successfully updated, lending an air of legitimacy to the scammer’s initial claim.
With your trust, the scammer would continue to request for OTPs from you during the call, to either add new payees or transfer your money out to other parties.
You would realise that you had been scammed when you discover unauthorised transactions made from your bank accounts.
The police would like to advise you to be on heightened alert and to follow these crime prevention measures:
If you have any information relating to such crimes, 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".
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688.