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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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MICROSOFT SUPPORT SCAM: 70 Y.O ALMOST LOSE $170,000 TO SCAMMERS

On 24 April 2024, the Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) and DBS bank successfully recovered losses of more than $170,000 in a technical support scam.

In this case, a 70-year-old victim was using her computer when she saw a pop-up alert prompting her to call the “Microsoft” hotline number as her computer had been hacked. The victim then called the hotline and spoke with the scammer who claimed to be from the “Microsoft” support department. The victim was told that her computer had been hacked and the hackers might have accessed her bank accounts.

The victim was then instructed by the scammer to log in to her DBS bank account with her credentials. However, the victim had forgotten her password and the scammer offered to reset her password on her behalf. The victim then provided her login details and the One-Time Password (OTP) on her digital token to the scammer. When further asked to provide an image of her NRIC, the victim found it suspicious and hung up the call.

A few hours later, the victim received a notification from DBS informing that she had increased the overseas fund transfer limit and a sum of more than $170,000 was transferred to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates. Realising she had fallen prey to a scam, the victim immediately lodged a Police report.

Officers from the Anti-Scam Centre were alerted to this case, and quickly worked with DBS bank to trace the funds. Due to the swift response, DBS managed to trace and recover the full amount of funds for the victim.

Members of the public are advised to take the following steps immediately if they believe that they have fallen prey to such scams:

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  1. Turn off your computer immediately to limit any further activities that scammers can perform;
  2. Uninstall any software that you have installed at the instructions of scammers;
  3. Perform a full anti-virus scan on your computer and delete any malware detected;
  4. Report the incident to your bank to halt further activities relating to your bank account(s);
  5. Change your Internet banking credentials and remove any unauthorised payees who may have been added to your bank accounts; and
  6. Report the incident to the Police.

ACT Against Scams

The Police would like to advise members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures: 

  1. ADD – Add the ScamShield App to protect yourself from scam calls and SMSes. Set security features (e.g. set up transaction limits for internet banking transactions, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), Multifactor Authentication for banks. Members of public should also:

    a. Refrain from clicking on pop-up notices or links embedded. These can lead to malicious websites or prompt downloads of harmful software;

    b. Only seek technical support from reputable sources. Avoid engaging with unsolicited offers for assistance that appear out of the blue;

    c. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a pop-up notice, contact your device manufacturer, software provider or trusted IT support for guidance;

    d. Ensure your operating system, antivirus software and applications are updated with the latest security patches. This can help mitigate vulnerabilities that scammers may exploit; and

    e. Configure your web browser to block pop-up windows by default. This reduces the likelihood of encountering malicious pop-ups.

  2. CHECK – Check for scam signs with official sources (e.g. ScamShield WhatsApp bot @ https://go.gov.sg/scamshield-bot, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visit www.scamalert.sg). Beware of unsolicited phone calls from dubious parties. Do not follow instructions from dubious parties to install applications, type commands into your device, log into your online banking account or reveal sensitive personal information.

  3. TELL – Tell the authorities, family, and friends about scams. Report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately.

If in doubt, members of the public can contact your device’s technical support via official pages. Members of the public should note that legitimate technical support will never:

  1. Have pop-ups that feature contact number/helpline to call;
  2. Make unsolicited calls;
  3. Self-initiate through official website for assistance until a call-back is required;
  4. Ask to access bank account/make payments whilst on remote access/screen sharing with tech support;
  5. Claim your bank accounts have been compromised or used illegally; or
  6. Transfer you to the Police/or other government agencies.

If you have any information relating to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Fighting scams is a community effort. Together, we can ACT Against Scams to safeguard our community!

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