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Woman thinks she’s helping ‘police’ to catch hackers, ends up losing $18k, Singapore News | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

When the ‘police’ told her that they needed her help to lure a hacker out, she used her hard-earning savings as bait.

But the 35-year-old woman, surnamed Li, was swindled $18,000 on Monday (Jun 26) after it turned out that the so-called cops were part of a scam.

In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, Li, who works at a construction company, shared that she received a call from her office landline at around 1pm that day.

Claiming to be a Singtel employee, the man told the woman to download a software after ‘discovering’ an abnormality in her laptop’s network.

“He informed me that my IP address has been stolen and asked me to call the police immediately,” Li said, adding that the telecom staff used the software to control her laptop and opened a “make a police report” webpage.

Li shared that she was convinced by what the man said after receiving an email containing a “report” which stated that “there are people using my IP address to commit some crime”.

A few minutes later, a man claiming to be a police officer called to inform her that hackers had infiltrated her laptop and obtained her personal details.

When Li pointed out that she had registered for a bitcoin account online recently, the ‘officer’ claimed that it was the reason why she was hacked.

He then told her that they needed her help to create a virtual currency trading account on another platform in order to catch the alleged hacker. 

“The ‘police officer’ said that the case could only be solved by luring the hackers with bait,” the woman said.

“The hackers took control of my computer and transferred $12,000 from my bank account. In addition they also withdrew $6,000 in credit loans. They not only depleted my savings but left me with debt,” Li told Shin Min Daily News.

‘I was warned’: Li 

Li shared that the scammer had initially requested that she use her company’s bank account to transfer the money to the online platform.

She asked her boss for authorisation to use the company’s funds but as the latter was in a meeting at that time, he hung up in a hurry after telling her that it could be a scam.

“I also approached the boss’ wife but she too, warned me that it could be a scam,” Li said, adding that the latter lodged a police report after the scammer called her.

Li shared that she even received a phone call from an actual Singapore Police Force officer who warned her against transferring money to the scammer.

“When I told the scammer that everyone doesn’t believe him, he told me that my boss will face prosecution for not cooperating,” Li said. 

The scammer claimed that they are from Interpol, which means local police would be unaware of the supposed hacking case, Li added. 

“After being convinced by him, I transferred the money using my own bank account.”

Li shared that she had received such fraudulent phone calls in the past, but had never fallen for them.

The scammers this time spoke to her in English with a local accent, which did not raise her suspicions. 

“After telling my boyfriend about the phone call, I still didn’t think that I was scammed,” Li said. 

“Until I saw the ‘zero’ in my bank account — that was when I realised it was a scam, and it’s impossible to get the money back.”

ALSO READ: Retiree scammed of $3 million, forced to sell 2 properties to pay loanshark debt

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