Man nearly loses S$250,000 to scammers impersonating bank staff, police officer

SINGAPORE: A man came close to losing S$250,000 (US$185,000) after falling prey to scammers posing as a bank staff member and a police officer.

The 56-year-old first received a call from a scammer impersonating a bank staff on Jun 6, the police said in a news release on Friday (Jun 14).

He was told that there was a suspicious transaction on his credit card.

The call was then forwarded to a “police officer” who claimed that the man was a victim of identity fraud and the money in his bank accounts had been frozen. 

The “police officer” instructed the man to assist in the investigation by opening a new Standard Chartered bank account online and transferring S$250,000 from his accounts from other banks into the new account. 

The man was also told to provide the new account’s login details and password as the account was under investigation by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

After complying with the request, the man told his family about the incident. However, he later realised he might have been scammed and lodged a police report. 

Officers from the Anti-Scam Centre were alerted and Standard Chartered’s anti-fraud team immediately blocked online banking access and suspended the bank account, preventing any fund movement, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF). 

“Due to the swift response, the full sum of S$250,000 was recovered”, SPF added.
The police emphasised that government officials would never request that members of the public make bank transfers or provide personal banking details over the phone or through text messages. 

Government officials from other countries do not have the legal power to require Singaporeans to perform such actions, SPF added. 

In February, it was reported that at least S$13.3 million was lost in December to government official impersonation scams.

To guard against scams, SMSes from government agencies will come from a single sender ID known as, instead of the individual organisations, from Jul 1 onwards. 

Anyone who has information relating to scams can call the police at 1800-255-000 or submit it online. 

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