$3.9m lost to scammers posing as High Court, Interpol officials

More than $3.9 million was lost to a new impersonation scam that targeted English-speaking victims here between January and April.

Posing as Singapore High Court or Interpol officials, the scammers tricked victims into believing they were under probe for money laundering offences and had to hand over money or their bank account details as part of the investigations.

The police said yesterday that they had received more than 40 reports of such scams.

The victims were then referred to a fake Interpol officer, "Eric Wong Teng Hui", and told to download messenger app Line for further communication.

Through Line or WhatsApp, the victims were shown a fake Interpol International police pass and letter from the Singapore Police Force.

The letter, which tells victims that their "assets were frozen" and bank accounts monitored for "priority financial inspection", was signed off by a fake inspector named "Yong Tian Ming".

The victims were told to provide their identification documents for verification and to surrender their monies for investigation by transferring cash to various bank accounts belonging to the scammers.

They were promised the money transferred would be returned after investigations are completed.

Some victims were even asked to hand over their banking credentials and SingPass accounts.

In its statement, the police pointed out that no government agency would demand payment through an undocumented medium like a telephone call or a social messaging platform.

They would also not demand for cash to be surrendered to unnamed people or ask for personal banking information.

They advised the public to ignore unsolicited calls making such demands. They also urged foreign residents who get calls from people claiming to be officials from their home country to verify the claims with their embassy or high commission. - THE STRAITS TIMES