Phone scammers now pretending to be telco staff: Police

Phone scammers now pretending to be telco staff: Police
PHOTO: The Straits Times
W.T.M. Why This Matters
Scammers in Singapore these days are coming up with various tactics to obtain personal information, from parcel phone scams to authority impersonation scams. Here's a new one - impersonating telco staff.

The next time you receive a call from someone who claims to be from your telecommunications company, you might want to listen attentively to avoid being scammed.

According to the police, members of the public have been receiving phone calls from callers claiming to be staff from telcos based in either China or Singapore.

THIS IS HOW IT WORKS

The recipients of such calls would first hear an automated Mandarin voice message telling them that their phone lines would be terminated and that they had to enter '1' to get further instructions from either the Chinese police or telecommunications company staff.

Recipients were then told that a mobile phone number registered under their names had been used for illicit activities such as operating an online gambling website and access to illegal websites, and so on.

The Mandarin-speaking operator would then go on to ask for personal information such as name, identification card number, nationality and contact number in order to 'assist' in resolving the matter.

PHONE CALL WITH LOCAL NUMBER MAY NOT BE MADE HERE

Police say such scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. 

What this means is that calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore.

Police advised the public to hang up the call if you receive a suspicious call from a local number. It is also best to wait five minutes before calling back to check the validity of the nuimber.

Police also said to not follow the caller's instructions and do not give out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to calls over the phone.

Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.

WHEN DO TELCOS CALL?

According to StarHub, the telco typically reaches out to customers if the customer calls in first to engage their services. StarHub normally calls a customer back to answer requests put in by them. 

A StarHub spokesperson added that they conduct cross-verifications with the customers during the calls to establish their identity accurately and to inform the customers that it is a legitimate call from StarHub.

He also told AsiaOne that customers who receive calls from suspicious numbers claiming to be from the company should immediately ignore and disregard the call. Personal details should not be given out at all, said the spokesperson.

To seek scam-related advice, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722- 6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg.

klim@sph.com.sg
 

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