Rise in phishing scams during circuit breaker; SingPost and StarHub among top companies impersonated: SPF

SINGAPORE: The police on Saturday (May 16) warned of a rise in phishing scams during the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" period, with 151 cases reported from Apr 7 to May 7.

That's a sharp increase from the monthly average of 20 cases reported in the first three months of this year.

"Members of the public who have fallen victim to such phishing scams would receive emails or text messages purportedly sent from a company they know or trust, such as banks, government agencies, trade unions like NTUC, or companies such as SingPost, StarHub and Netflix," said the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

These messages or emails usually include fake offers or claims to trick recipients into clicking on a link. Victims will then be redirected to fraudulent websites where they are asked to provide their credit or debit card details and a one-time password.

Most victims only realise that they have been scammed when they discover unauthorised transactions in their bank accounts, said SPF.

Screengrab of Phishing e-mail impersonating NTUC
Screengrab of phishing e-mail impersonating NTUC. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

According to the police, the top companies impersonated in these scams are SingPost, StarHub, Netflix, PayPal and Grab.

In the case of the SingPost scam, with 45 police reports made from January to April, scammers typically trick people into believing that their parcel will not be shipped unless payment is made.

READ: 9 victims scammed out of more than S$50,000 after receiving fake MAS email

Scams which use StarHub's name often claim that a recipient's bill has been overpaid and that credit card details are needed to collect a refund.

As for the scam impersonating Netflix, the text message claims that the company is giving out "3 months of Netflix Premium" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screengrab of phishing text messages impersonating Netflix
Screengrab of phishing text messages impersonating Netflix. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

The police advised members of the public to follow these crime prevention measures:

  • Do not click on links provided in unsolicited emails and text messages.
  • Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official websites or sources.
  • Never disclose personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone. 
  • Report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately.


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