Police advisory on parcel scams
Parcel scams started to emerge here at the end of March, with the highest surge of these scams reported in April.
Ms Yolanda Yu, head of the Financial Crime Policy and Operations Branch at the Singapore Police Force, said that to date, at least 50 people have fallen prey to parcel scams.
According to her, a total of about $4 million has been scammed from these 50 people. The biggest amount lost from a single incident for a parcel scam was $2.3 million.
The conmen, who usually spoke Mandarin, would typically call the victim and claim to be from an overseas courier company.
They would then transfer the line to someone posing as a Chinese government official, saying that illegal items such as fake passports and fraudulent credit cards had been found in a parcel under their identity.
To resolve the issue, a sum of money would have to be transferred. Otherwise, the victim would be reported to the police.
Recently, parcel scammers changed their tactics - they pretended to be from the Singapore Police Force or local courier companies such as Singpost.
Most parcel scammers also utilise Caller ID Spoofing tactics, to change their overseas numbers to local ones so as to appear more convincing.
So what are the red flags that one should spot to avoid being scammed?
Ms Yu said that the first red flag is when someone asks you to transfer or remit money overseas.
The second red flag is if someone requests that you receive an amount of money into your bank account, and then transfer those funds to another account.
The funds could be illegal and your bank account could be implicated for facilitating the movement of illegal proceeds.
The police also advise not giving out personal information and bank details to callers over the phone.
You should call a trusted family member, relative or friend for counsel before acting.
Those with information related to such crimes or who are in doubt should call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000.