Monday 27 January 2020
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todayonline - 2 month ago

Victims of China officials impersonation scam cheated of S$18.8 million from Jan to Nov 2019: Police

SINGAPORE — At least S$18.8 million has fallen into the hands of people impersonating China officials as the number of such scams continued to surge this year, despite the authorities’ efforts to tackle the scourge. In an advisory on Friday (Dec 13), the police said that between January and November of this year, at least 401 reports on such scams have been made. Of these, 242 cases were recorded between August and November 2019, with at least S$10.8 million cheated. By comparison, the police had received 92 reports of such scams involving at least S$5.3 million in the first five months of this year. This came despite several advisories from the police who had put up anti-scam posters across the island to warn the public about the scourge. The police had also set up an Anti-Scam Centre in June as scam cases had been on the rise. In their latest advisory, the police said that the scams typically involve scammers who would impersonate as staff members from courier companies, telecommunication service providers, or officers from government organisations. These scammers would then inform the victims of the following scenarios: A mobile number registered in their name was involved in a crime A parcel under their name containing illegal goods was detained There was a pending case in court against them They had committed a criminal offence and were required to assist in investigations. MODUS OPERANDI The scammer would then direct the victim to provide their personal particulars and bank account details, including internet banking credentials and One-Time Password (OTP) for investigation purposes. The police added that in some cases, the call would be transferred to another person who would identify himself as a police officer from China. Victims might then be shown a copy of a warrant for their arrest from the “China Police” and were threatened with imprisonment if they did not cooperate. Subsequently, the victims would discover that monies had been transferred from their bank account to unknown accounts. In another variant of the scam, the scammers would instruct victims to scan a QR code and transfer a sum of money using Bitcoin vending machines. There were also some cases where victims were asked to withdraw money from their bank accounts to be handed over to a “government officer” for verification purposes. The scammers also kept the victims on the phone line to ensure that they did not have the opportunity to verify the authenticity of the call, said the police in their advisory. BE AWARE, TAKE PRECAUTIONS The police reminded the members of the public to take the following precautions if they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties: Don’t panic – Ignore the calls and caller’s instructions. No government agency will request for personal details or 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. Don’t believe – 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 a while, then call the number back to check the validity of the request. Don’t give – Do not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details, and OTP to anyone. Such information is useful to criminals. Those who wish to provide information related to the China officials impersonation scams can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at Members of the public who wish to seek scam-related advice can also call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to

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