A series of fraud transfers were detected in Dec 2019, and amongst the victims was Madam C, a Filipino nurse working in Singapore. She received a call from ‘DHL’ claiming to deliver a Directive from the Shanghai Police. She was directed to “an authentic and legit looking website” to fill out a form with all her bank details. For almost a week, she didn’t smell anything fishy.
“I was worried about losing my work visa in Singapore, so I didn’t think twice before complying”, she recalled. She was even reporting to the “Officer” with her whereabouts every 2–3 hours by snapping a selfie on WhatsApp.
“They specifically told me not to tell my friends or family, because I could have been framed by these very people who are closest to me.”
As a foreigner working in Singapore, she was an easy target because she didn’t have anyone else here to turn to.
At Xfers, their first line of defence was our Customer Support team. Leveraging proprietary algorithms built over 5 years, we’ve identified common patterns of impersonation where scammers posed as authorities like the Shanghai Police and Chinese Consulate. These scammers then tricked the victims into revealing their SingPass and internet banking login credentials. Victims were instructed to provide their identity documents and selfies which were in turn used to log in their bank accounts, Xfers wallets or online shopping accounts.
At this point, our transaction monitoring flags confirmed the suspicious transactions and accounts, and we then reached out to other stakeholders in the financial ecosystem such as:
All parties collaborated closely and successfully recovered a sum of $14,500 for Madam C.
Samson Leo, Head of Legal & Compliance, reflected, “As a FinTech startup, we work closely with regulators and banks, and we collaborate with fellow stakeholders in the wider community to raise the bar for cyber-security and consumer protection. In this case, we shared our learning points and this case study with our partner banks and law enforcement to share best practices to fight cyber-crime.”
Tianwei Liu, CEO, commented, “As a FinTech company, we invest heavily in technological solutions based on computer vision and machine learning to enhance our user screening and transaction monitoring. We believe that this will allow our customers to have a superior user experience while enhancing our capabilities in safeguarding consumer funds.”
This is our second recognition award from the Singapore Police Force. The first was in 2018 where we blocked six impersonation scams and stopped potential victims from losing tens of thousands of dollars.
This comes as the Singapore Government revealed Budget 2020 to invest S$1 billion in enhancing Government’s cyber and data security capabilities, placing the issue firmly in the spotlight.