SINGAPORE — In the first eight months of this year, at least 1,098 people have lost about $4.5 million to scammers who pretended to be the victims’ friends, police said on Monday (29 August).
Each scam typically involved a two-stage process of scammers asking the victims to save their phone numbers and at a later stage, seeking financial help from the victims, according to a report by The Straits Times.
In the first stage, a victim would receive a phone call with an unknown number bearing a “+” prefix. When the call is answered, the scammer would ask the victim to guess the caller’s identity with questions such as "Guess who am I?" or "You can't remember me?".
The victim would respond with a name thinking the scammer is a friend. The scammer would then inform the victim that he has lost his mobile phone or changed his contact number, and request for his “new” number to be saved.
The scammer would then contact the victim a few days later and ask for loans, citing troubles with his finances or the law. He would ask the victim to transfer money to his bank account numbers or phone numbers.
The victims would typically find out about the scams after they contact their friends who have been impersonated by the scammers, police said.
Members of the public are advised to be wary of calls with the “+” prefix unless they are expecting an international call. They should be wary of unusual requests via phone calls or messages.
They can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or 1800-722-6688 regarding such scams or submit information online at the the Scam Alert website.
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