Woman, 70, managed to recover $170k from scammer, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Woman, 70, managed to recover $170k from scammer

Within hours, a woman lost more than $170,000 to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after handing her bank details to a scammer pretending to be from Microsoft’s support department.

But unlike many victims of technical support scams, the 70-year-old successfully recovered the sum on April 24 after swift intervention by the police and DBS Bank.

In a statement on May 16, the police said the victim had been prompted by a pop-up alert on her computer to contact Microsoft, as her computer had been hacked. But the hotline number provided was fake.

Falling for the ruse, the woman contacted the scammer, who claimed to be from the tech giant’s support department, and instructed her to log in to her DBS account with her credentials.

The scammer offered to reset her password on her behalf, as she had forgotten her password.

The victim then provided her login details and the one-time password on her digital token to the scammer.

When asked to provide an image of her NRIC, the victim found it suspicious and hung up.

Several hours later, the victim was notified by DBS 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 UAE.

Realising she had been scammed, the victim immediately lodged a police report.

Officers from the police’s Anti-Scam Centre quickly worked with DBS to trace the money, which was recovered in full.

The police advised members of the public to take the following steps when they fall victim to technical support scams:

  • Turn off the affected computer immediately to limit any further activities that a scammer can perform.
  • Uninstall any software that has been installed at the instructions of scammers.
  • Perform a full anti-virus scan on the computer and delete any malware detected.
  • Report the incident to the bank.
  • Change internet banking details and remove any unauthorised payees who may have been added to the bank account.
  • Report the incident to the police.

If in doubt, members of the public can contact the technical support team for their devices via official pages.

The police said legitimate technical support will never have pop-ups that feature their helplines, make unsolicited calls, or ask to access bank accounts or make payments via remote access.

The public should also be wary when told their bank accounts have been used illegally, or when their calls are “transferred” to the police or other government agencies.

More information on scams can be found on this website.