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Author Topic: Scam: Software Technical Support  (Read 6986 times)

Offline greentara

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Scam: Software Technical Support
« on: January 06, 2015, 08:43:55 PM »
Be wary of software phone scams: Police advisory
Published: 6:41 PM, January 6, 2015

SINGAPORE — Police released a crime advisory today (Jan 6) regarding a software phone scam. Police have received several reports of people receiving calls from unknown people claiming to be from the technical support sections of major software companies.

Callers would inform victims that their computers required security or software updates and victims would be asked to download and install one or more software from the Internet. Victims would also be asked to provide their software user account identification codes and passwords and in some instances, were instructed to enter some commands into their computers.

Some victims observed that their computers were remotely controlled or files were deleted after following the caller’s instructions. The callers would then convince victims to buy additional software by making online payments or by providing their credit card details.

Members of the public are advised to ignore such calls.

Police have the following advice for you to protect yourself from being scammed:

  • Ignore such calls. Do not follow the instructions of the callers to install any software for your computer or enter any commands
  • Do not make any payment or divulge your credit card and/or bank account details to the callers.
  • If you had followed any of the caller’s instructions, immediately change your computer’s log-in password and all other passwords associated with your online accounts (e.g. social media accounts and email accounts), especially your online banking and credit card passwords. Where possible, try changing the passwords from another computer other than the affected one.
  • Scan your computer with a commercial anti-virus software to find out if malware has been installed on your computer.
  • If you have any information related to this crime, call the police hotline at 1800-255 0000, or 999 for urgent assistance.

Offline greentara

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Re: Scam: Software Technical Support
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2019, 09:06:55 PM »
S$6 million lost to phone scammers impersonating technical support staff and police
15 Nov 2019

SINGAPORE: Victims have lost at least S$6 million so far this year to phone scammers claiming to be technical support staff, said the Singapore Police Force in a news release on Friday (Nov 15).

From January to October 2019, police received at least 156 reports of such scams, which involved the culprits pretending that the victim's computers needed repairing.

October saw at least 50 victims falling prey to a variant of this scam, with culprits impersonating staff from telecommunication service providers like Singtel and StarHub or police officers in order to gain remote access to the victims' computers.

They would make unsolicited phone calls to the victims and deceive them into believing there were issues with their modem or Internet connection. They would then direct the victims to download and install software applications such as Teamviewer and AnyDesk onto their computer, fooling the victims into thinking that doing so would allow the "repairmen" to resolve their computer's issues.

Police said there were also cases of scammers claiming to be from the "Cyber Crime Department of Singapore" or "Cyber Police of Singapore" who would make victims think they had committed a crime.

They would then direct the victims to download and install the software applications, saying this would help with the investigations.

Once the software applications were installed, the scammers would access the victim's computers remotely and request victims to log in to their online bank accounts.

The scammers would then transfer funds out of the victims' bank accounts without their consent.


Police advised those who have fallen prey to such scams to immediately turn off their computer to stop further activities on their computer and report the incident to their bank to halt further activities on their bank accounts.

They should also change their iBanking credentials and remove any unauthorised payees.

Victims are advised not to give One-Time Passwords or OTPs for banking transactions to the other party, and to report the incident to the police.

The authorities also recommended several preventive measures.

"Beware of unsolicited calls from persons claiming that they are staff of telecommunication service providers or from a government agency, even if they claim there are issues with your telecommunication devices or allege that you are implicated in a criminal offence," said police.

"Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number," they warned.

"Do not panic," said police, adding that members of the public should not follow instructions to install applications on their computer or log in to their bank accounts. They should also not provide their name, identification number, passport details, contact details or bank account and credit card details when these are requested by the caller.

"When in doubt, always call the official hotline of your telecommunication service provider to verify," said police, who also recommended talking to a trusted friend or relative before acting because victims are often "overwhelmed by emotion and (may) err in (their) judgment".

"No telecommunication service provider or government agency will request for personal details or access to your online bank account and do transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines," police reminded.

Source: CNA/nr(hs)


Offline ainat

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Re: Scam: Software Technical Support
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 03:25:52 PM »
How a senior IT exec fell for a ‘technical support’ scam and nearly lost S$180,000
By Wong Pei Ting | January 07, 2021 | Updated January 08, 2021

SINGAPORE — They were calm and professional, and sounded every bit like employees of a telecommunications firm offering technical support.

So an unsuspecting senior information technology executive readily fell for their ruse last month.

The fraudsters claimed to be staff members from Singtel, Singapore’s largest telco, providing technical support over the phone.

The Singaporean victim in his 50s did not notice that something was awry, as he thought many employees like him were working from home during the pandemic and had “no choice” but to do their work over the phone.

The victim, who spoke on condition of anonymity, wanted to be identified only as Mr KK.

He ended up authorising a transfer of S$180,000 from his bank account.

The transfer did not go through, thanks to a vigilant teller and fraud risk team at OCBC bank, which alerted the police to the transaction on Dec 18 last year.

The victim recounted his ordeal to reporters on Wednesday (Jan 6). He hopes that it would serve as a cautionary tale, so that others do not fall for the same trap.

The interview was facilitated by the police, which on Wednesday warned the public against scammers impersonating employees from telecommunication service providers, such as Singtel and StarHub, or officers from government agencies offering technical support.

The police said the scammers would typically dupe victims into believing that there were issues with their internet connections and persuade them to install software applications. These apps, such as Teamviewer or AnyDesk, can then grant remote access to their computers.

An image of software application Teamviewer from a scam victim. Photo: Singapore Police Force

In other cases, the scammers would claim to be “cyber police” or from “cyber crime departments”. They would hoodwink victims into believing that they had committed a crime, similar to tactics seen in impersonation scams involving supposed “Chinese officials”, the police added.

In Mr KK’s case, the scammers sounded exactly like technical support employees — they were calm and professional, and took him through his issues slowly and patiently, he said.


It started with a call from an overseas number on Dec 16 last year.

The person at the other end convinced Mr KK that he was a Singtel employee named Alex Murphy. He narrated Mr KK’s network identification number, after Mr KK provided him with an identification number on his broadband modem.

The fraudster then told Mr KK that he had detected suspicious behaviour on the latter's network, suggesting that it was hacked.

Mr KK was later referred to a “superior”, a Paul Thomas, who instructed him to install Teamviewer on his laptop to pave the way for “further investigations”.

This superior later handed over the call to a third person, this time from a supposed cyber crime department of the Singapore Government.

This person then told Mr KK that he was part of a top-secret operation and that his cooperation was needed to catch a hacker.

Mr KK, who had spoken to the scammers for about half an hour by now, agreed to be part of the operation because he felt that he was helping the authorities.

This “operation” went on for the next two days and involved the use of one of his three bank accounts in what he believed was a ploy to lure the hacker into a trap set by Singapore’s cyber crime authorities.

One of the scammers later got Mr KK to declare his bank balances, and said that all his accounts needed “securing” and their amounts had to be cross-checked at the end of the operation.

Soon after, one of the accounts — a dormant one at OCBC with little cash in it — saw a jump of S$180,000.

Mr KK was told that the cyber crime department had transferred the sum, which was a failed transaction made by the hacker. By monitoring people who gain access to the money, the authorities would be able to catch the culprit, the scammers told him.


Mr KK said he did not fully understand how the operation worked.

“I thought I was helping the Government and I didn’t think deeper. I said ‘okay, let’s do it’.”

In hindsight, he said the fact that the scammers called him from overseas numbers should have set alarm bells ringing.

The scammers later instructed him to transfer the S$180,000 — which was, in fact, his own money — to a Hong Kong-based HSBC account. He was told to do so at the bank, without telling anyone that he was part of the operation.

“The argument (given to me) is this: This hacker may have a helping hand in the bank, so if you tell the bank that this is happening, the staff may tell the hacker and alert the guy,” he said.

He later discovered that the scammers had transferred the sum from another of his bank accounts.

He was so trusting of the scammers’ tale that he refused to engage police officers when they visited his home on the afternoon after the transfer.

Ms Chua Wen Xin, the bank teller who served Mr KK at OCBC’s Clementi branch, said she noticed something amiss when Mr KK, who is of Indian ethnicity, stated “family maintenance and expenses” as the purpose of his transfer to the Hong Kong account.

The recipient had a Chinese-sounding name and, when asked, Mr KK refused to disclose how they were related. He insisted that the money be sent on the day itself.

Another telltale sign, Ms Chua said, was that it was a big sum and appeared to be all that he had in his account.

Investigations into the scam are continuing.

The police said that there were 313 cases of technical support scams in the first half of last year and S$14.9 million was swindled from victims. The biggest amount cheated in a single case was S$958,000.

There were just 30 such cases in the first half of 2019, involving S$340,000 in total.

The police advised the public to stay vigilant and reject callers that spoof local numbers, noting that all incoming international calls started to be prefixed with a plus (+) sign from April last year.

If they believe that they may have fallen prey to a scam, members of the public should:

  • Log out of and turn off their computer to limit further actions by scammers
  • Report the incident to their bank to stop further activities on their bank accounts
  • Change their online banking credentials and remove unauthorised payees that may have been added
  • Report the matter to the police