SINGAPORE– The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board issued a joint statement on 1 February, revealing that a staggering S$13.3 million was lost by at least 120 individuals in December 2023 alone, falling prey to scams orchestrated by fraudsters impersonating government officials.
The modus operandi involved victims receiving calls from scammers masquerading as bank officers under the pretense of investigating suspicious transactions purportedly linked to the victims.
Upon denial from the victims regarding any such transactions or ownership of the implicated bank cards, the calls were seamlessly redirected to another scammer posing as a government official.
These imposters then levied accusations of criminal involvement, such as money laundering, against the victims.
Under the guise of official investigations, the scammers coerced the victims into transferring funds to designated bank accounts or divulging sensitive banking information.
CPF scam alert: victims duped into transferring S$488,000
Alarmingly, in three instances, victims were persuaded to transfer approximately S$488,000 from their CPF accounts into their personal bank accounts.
Subsequently, they were either instructed to further transfer the funds or provide banking credentials.
Authorities emphasized that legitimate government officials would never solicit money transfers, banking details, or CPF-related information over the phone.
The CPF Board said it has implemented various security measures to combat such fraudulent activities.
Among these measures is the imposition of a default daily limit of S$2,000 for online CPF withdrawals since 30 November 2023.
Members seeking to modify this limit must undergo Singpass face verification, with a mandatory 12-hour cooling period to deter unauthorized changes.
Additionally, individuals have the option to disable online withdrawals altogether as a protective measure.
Despite these precautions, the CPF Board acknowledged at least eight cases of CPF-related scams between January and June 2023, resulting in losses totaling S$124,000.
Victims who suspect fraudulent activities involving their CPF savings should promptly contact the CPF Board.
They are advised to inform their respective banks to freeze their accounts, reset their Singpass credentials, and set their CPF daily withdrawal limit to S$0 as precautionary measures.
As the authorities intensify efforts to combat scams, the public is urged to remain vigilant and exercise caution when divulging personal or financial information, particularly in unsolicited communication scenarios.
For further assistance or inquiries regarding CPF-related scams, individuals are encouraged to reach out to the CPF Board for guidance and support.
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.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688.
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