Some 587 victims in S’pore lost more than S$2.7 million to scammers posing as friends

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The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued a public advice to fraudsters who pretend to be friends over calls and dupe victims to send money as financial aid.

According to the SPF’s press release on May 12, more than $ 2.7 million has been defrauded of at least 587 victims since the beginning of 2022.

At least 43 people lost at least 177,000 S $ to fraudsters in May 2022.

Hey buddy”

Fraudsters will call victims via unknown numbers beginning with a “+” prefix in front.

The fraudsters will not reveal their identities when the victims answer their calls.

Instead, they will ask questions such as “You do not remember me?” or “Guess who I am?”.

The victims will respond with the name of a familiar friend whose voice is “most similar” to that of the fraudsters, the SPF said.

They will then pose as friends of the victims and would tell them that they have “lost their mobile phone” or “changed contact number”.

“Friend” needs “help”

The victims would be asked to update the said friend’s contact details on their telephone list.

The “friend” will call several days later to seek help in the form of a loan, citing legal or financial issues.

Local bank account numbers or telephone numbers will be provided by the fraudsters to the victims so that they can transfer the money.

“The victims would only discover that they have been deceived after contacting their actual friends that the fraudsters had imitated,” the SPF said.

Police advisory

The SPF called on the public to take precautionary measures against such frauds.

These measures include:

  • Be careful with calls beginning with the prefix “+”, especially when you do not expect an incoming international call
  • Be careful when receiving phone calls or messages requesting odd services, even if they appear to be from family and friends
  • Verify the legitimacy of such requests by checking with family and friends through alternative contact methods, such as meeting in person or through previously specified contact information.

Call the police emergency number (1800-255-0000) if you have information about related frauds or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

You can visit www.scamalert.sg to learn more about the different types of scams or call the anti-fraud phone (1800-722-6688).

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Top photo of Jamie Street

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