Scammers posing as tech support try to cheat 2 people of their life savings, police issue alert

SINGAPORE – Scammers impersonating tech support staff from local telecommunication companies or government agencies are on the prowl and the police have issued an alert to the public on Thursday (Oct 14).

In September, two people almost lost their life savings to the criminals, who gained access to their computers and tried to transfer more than $300,000 from each victim’s bank account.

Fortunately for these two people, vigilant bank officers and a fraud surveillance system from OCBC, the bank involved, detected the suspicious transfer requests and contacted the victims. The bank then stopped the transactions when it found out they were not authorised.

The scammers operate by calling their victims and claiming to be from either a government agency or a telecommunication company.

These “tech support staff” would tell the victims that their Wi-Fi routers are being used for illegal purposes. They may also tell the victims that their mobile devices have been infected with viruses.

The scammers would then instruct the victims to install remote access software, such as TeamViewer or Anydesk, to grant them access to the devices.

Once the scammers gain access to the computers, they would request from the victims their Internet banking information and use the details to transfer money out of the victims’ bank accounts.

The police, in their statement, reminded the public that no legitimate service provider would ask for Internet banking details.

However, if a person is already caught in the throes of such a scam, he should turn off the computer to stop the scammers’ access immediately.

Then, he should change his Internet banking details, remove unauthorised payees from his accounts and report the incident to the bank.

He should also make a police report.

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