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Phishing Scams Linked to LTA and ERP fines

Phishing Scams Linked to LTA and ERP fines

Scams are on the rise in Singapore and it can happen to anyone. Scam tactics are constantly evolving but one common thing that scammers take advantage of is people’s vulnerability whenever there is a sense of uncertainty. 

The most common phishing scams in Singapore are typically bank, tech support and investment related.  However, the latest phishing scam to grip Singaporeans involves the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system. 

According to a report by the Singapore Straits Times, as updated on 10 January 2023, at least 317 victims have lost about $557,000 since December 2022 to these phishing scams involving unpaid LTA vehicle-related bills or fines .



What is a Phishing Scam?

A phishing scam is when you receive a call, text or email soliciting personal information –  in order to claim a prize, secure your online accounts, to help investigate fraudulent transactions or request payment for overdue bills or penalties.

Fake websites or web links are created to look identical to the official sites of organisations or banks, but with a slightly different web address. If you input your personal details, PINs or OTPs in these fake websites, your information and money are at risk of being stolen by criminals.

Basically, these scammers have been sending people mobile texts/SMSes appearing to be from LTA, as shown in the image above, warning of overdue bills or fines, urging them to make payment or incur a penalty. These messages are seemingly sent by LTA Singapore with a link for recipients to ‘make payment’. However, upon clicking the URL, recipients are taken to a fraudulent website where they would be prompted to enter their credit card details or One-Time Passwords (OTP). Those who enter these details will find unauthorised transactions charged to their debit or credit cards. 


Warning of Phishing Scams from LTA and the Singapore Police Force

The LTA and Singapore Police Force has notified Singaporeans of this scam and urges the public to be cautious and to report any fraudulent transactions to their bank and the police. The authorities say it would notify citizens immediately of potential phishing scams through messages on the LTA and OneMotoring websites, and on its social media accounts.

Bear in mind that the LTA does not request for payment via embedded URL links in SMS alerts regarding offence notices, vehicle registration, and licensing matters. If in doubt, cross check messages against the official websites, and do not provide your OTP to others. 

Also ensure the URL of the payment gateway matches the service provider you use to make payment and remember to cancel the card immediately if you detect fraudulent activities!

All of your LTA-related fines and penalties will be relayed to you via the Motorist app, so that’s another failsafe you can fall back on to verify the trustworthiness of a text message.


Other Ways to Detect a Phishing Scam

According to Scam Alert, here are some red flags to look out for to identify these types of scams:

1.    False claims of being from or affiliated to any Government body of Singapore 
2.    Receiving official-looking SMSes that do not address you by name
3.    Being informed that you have been linked to a lawfully criminal offence
4.    Being told that the matter will be escalated to the police or the respective authorities if you do not cooperate.
5.    Receiving a call from a number beginning with +65 and the caller claims to be from Singapore. Only calls originating from overseas will display a “+” prefix.


What to do if You Receive a SMS that seems to be a Phishing Scam?

Whenever you receive an unsolicited text message or SMS, you should follow these crime prevention measures:

●    Do not click on URL links provided in these text messages;
●    Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official sources or website;
●    Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone
●    If available, turn on the two-factor authentication (2FA) for your online accounts for an additional layer of security.
●    Turn on transaction alerts for your bank accounts and credit cards
●    Report any fraudulent credit/debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately. 


Stay Informed and Protected

Always be vigilant and make the effort to double check such messages with the respective authorities. Even if you haven’t been a target yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.

If you have information relating to such scams, call 1800-255-000 or go to www.police.gov.sg/iwitness to submit a report. All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

For scam-related advice, the public can call 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg/  or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688.  You can also opt to join the ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes’ campaign by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends.  Your message might prevent someone you know from getting scammed.

Besides protecting your family and friends, ensure you also have good car insurance and motorcycle insurance to protect them and your vehicle while on the road. If you have any questions related to car insurance and motorcycle insurance in Singapore, check out DirectAsia’s official website, drop us an enquiry or call us at 6665 5555 and we’ll be happy to help!