I just need to warn the expats of the rising phone scams, targeting foreign nationals who are either working or studying in Singapore. This happened to me a couple of months ago and after some research I found out that the script was nothing new, but just another instance. So I am posting this in the hope of protecting, and informing the readers about these antisocials who think they could rob people of their hard-earned money, with the same story over and over again (atleast they could try something new...)
I was in office on a very busy day and received a call from the Ministry of Home Affairs (or someone posing to be from it). In fact, he even asked me to go to its official website to cross check the number which he is calling from is actually the official number, which in this case was. I was told that the last time I departed from my home country, I gave my DOB in DDMMYYYY format instead of MMDDYYY (ya rite, Can u belv it?). And this apparently is treated as a serious crime under 'giving falsified information'. So my home country was suing me for the same and I had to go back within a couple of hours and appear in the supreme court in person in my home country. I was patiently waiting for the part where they would ask me to pay, and then it came. He offerred me an alternative; I could pay a penalty of 1040+1017 to close the case from singapore. Even though I was well aware of the surging phone scams in Singapore, I was not actually discounting the chances of the call to be real (and an extraordinary busy day at office didn't help my cognitive abilities much either). He even asked me not to share the particulars of the call with anyone so as not to spook them into calling the authorities on me (How considerate of him?). The call went on for almost 30 mins and I kept on asking for his credentials and more details on the case that I was charged with. He kept on scaring me (or tried to), followed by showers of reassurances that everything would be fine once I pay the penalty. Atlast, I think, he got tired of the call that he hung up saying that a Police officer would be dispatched to my residence with the case file and I would be escorted out of the country.
I called the home affairs immediately after the call only to find out that it was a scam call and they didn't make any such calls to my number or anyone else's for that matter. I called the Police later on to inform them about the incident and quite surprisingly, they just treated it like an everyday affair. I was expecting to be asked for clues like the scammer's accent or any background sounds that could help them trace the guy (may be I need to lay off watching too many investigative tv series that are distorting my sense of reality ).
Later on I read the same story line of another instance and even the scammer used the same name as he did in my case. And I guess he received my information from one of my old resumes, as the address which he said over the phone was my old one (and I didn't correct him either). Atleast I am happy that I am one bit smarter now that before this and didnt have to learn this new piece of information the hard(er) way.
Just for Your Information