Singapore police alerts public on rising phone scams impersonating police officers
Scam (Representational Image) Reuters

The Singapore police said on Saturday that at least $15,700 was lost after scam callers posing as employees from Google and Apple cheated multiple victims between December 13 and 20.

The police added that they received at least eight reports of impersonation scams in just one week. These scammers targeted convenience stores.

As mentioned by police, the unidentified scammers called the retailers and claimed to have received complaints from the customers, who were unable to retrieve the monetary values from their Google Play gift cards and Apple iTunes.

While claiming that the callers are then investigating the manner, they would request for the activation numbers for both types of cards on the pretext of checking their validity and tell the retailers that they would get back to them. But, as per police after the callers were provided with the activation numbers of several cards, no further calls were received.

The police advised the retailers to be cautious when they receive such calls from unidentified people, even if the callers claim to be working for the suppliers. They also added that the retailers should verify the authenticity of the calls to avoid such scams by contacting their respective suppliers on their previously known phone numbers. The store owners were also told that they should educate their employees about such scams.

If any member of the public seeks more information about scam-related activities then they can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg.

Here are some facts about the scams happening in Singapore right now:

  • There are about seven cases of e-commerce scams reported every day
  • Almost eight in 10 e-commerce scam cases that involved Carousell
  • There was a 58% increase to 1,277 e-commerce scam cases in the first half of 2018, from 808 cases in the same period last year and the total amount cheated increased by 43.1% to about $930,000 in the first half of 2018, from about $650,000 in the same period last year.
  • In terms of loan scams, there was a 92.6% increase to 364 in the first half of 2018, from 189 in the same period last year and the total amount cheated increased by 192% to about $730,000 in the first half of 2018, from about $250,000 in the same period last year.
  • China officials impersonation scams increased to 182 cases in the first half of 2018, from 58 cases in the same period last year. The total amount cheated increased by 233.3%, to about $6 million in the first half of 2018, from about $1.8 million in the same period last year.