Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Singapore Police advises public on variations of Phone Scams

Scammers are coming up with new and innovative phone scams to convince victims to part with their money. There are many variations to phone scams. The most common ones are the Lottery Scam, Kidnap Scam and Impersonation Scam.

Lottery Scams!
Tricksters may call from overseas, email or SMS the recipients, informing them that they have won prize money in a foreign lottery. The tricksters would request for an advance payment in order to process the claims for prizes.


Kidnap Scams!
Tricksters would claim that the recipient's loved one had been kidnapped and demand that a ransom be transferred to specific bank account. These fake threats are usually accompanied by sounds of cries for help in the background.


Impersonation Scams!
Tricksters would impersonate law enforcement officials, advising victims to remit or transfer money to designated bank accounts in order to exonerate themselves from alleged crimes. These common allegations include failure to appear in court in relation to one's involvement in money laundering and unlicensed money lending cases.


  1. The tricksters will impersonate foreign government officials such as the Interpol, Taiwan Police, China Police, etc.
  2. The tricksters will ask the victims for their personal information and bank account details for verification purposes. In some occasions, they were able to recite the victim's personal information or bank account number.
  3. The tricksters will send pre-recorded voice messages to the victims. The victims will need to press a number before their calls are answered by an operator. To lend credibility to their scams, the number that appeared on the recipient's phone reflects those belonging to local authorities such as:
    a. Supreme Court Quality Service Manager/ Enquiry Hotline: 63381034,
    b. CID Hotline: 64350000, or
    c. Police Emergency Hotline: 999
    This is commonly known as "Caller ID Spoofing", where advances in technology enable callers to lie about their identity through false numbers.


Lottery Scam

  • Ignore notifications of a win in a lottery or lucky draw when you had not purchased any lottery ticket or participated in any lucky draw.
  • Do not make any advance payment to claim any prize money. Winning a lucky draw or lottery does not require you to make any advance payment.
  • Do not entertain such SMSes and calls.
  • Be wary of get-rich-quick offers. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam.

Kidnap Scam

  • If the public receive kidnap scam calls, they should remain calm and try to contact their next-of-kin immediately. Should repeated attempts at contacting their loved-ones fail, they should then contact the police.
  • In addition, the public could pose questions to the kidnapper to verify the identity of the purportedly kidnapped victim, for instance, the number of family members staying together or whether there are pets in the house, to help them establish if the call is indeed genuine.

Impersonation Scam

  • Ignore any notification calls from unknown persons who claim to be government officials. All notices to attend court hearing would be notified by post or accompanied by an official letter.
  • Police or court officials would not ask anyone who is in connection with a criminal case to make any transfer of funds to unknown bank accounts.
  • Do not give your personal details such as NRIC and bank account numbers to anyone over telephone or e-mail.

Those who receive such calls may wish to pass on such information to the Police at a Neighbourhood Police Centre.


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