Have you heard of the parcel phone scam?
It is the latest scam going around and the police in Singapore had issued a media advisory on 8 April to warn Singaporeans.
I experienced it personally yesterday.
At around noon, I received a call from a US number which went to an automated voice message, asking me to press 9 to collect a parcel from DHL. Curious, I pressed 9. I was redirected to a Chinese-speaking guy with a China accent. The guy claimed he works for DHL and insisted I deposited a parcel in Shenzhen to be sent to Singapore via DHL. After I gave my name and date of birth, he pretended to tap away furiously on the keyboard (I can hear the sound) to supposedly verify my delivery status. After ‘verification’, he still insist I dropped a parcel at Shenzhen, this time sounding very furious. When I said I didn’t, he claimed there are 4 forged passports in the parcel I allegedly dropped in Shenzhen and asked me if I knew if was illegal. I told him to go scam someone else and hung up. Nicely executed though.
I consider myself to be pretty alert when it comes to scams, but I confirmed my real mobile number, name and date of birth with this scammer. Granted I was careful not to reveal more sensitive information like passwords and banking details, it is still by far, the most information I have ever divulged to any scammer.
I feel stupid.
The caller would then claim that your personal particulars were used to send parcels containing fake passports, weapons or other illegal items.
After scaring you, the scammer would then transfer the call to another scammer who will claim to be a customs or police officer. This person would ask you to provide your personal particulars such as name, identification number, address, passport number and bank account details.
Thereafter, the scammers will either get you to transfer money to them or they will empty your bank accounts themselves if you had provided them with the details they needed.
When I shared about my encounter on Facebook, I was surprised to see so many other of my friends responding to the post, commenting that they had received similar parcel phone scam calls too:
There is probably an international crime syndicate involved in this and making lots of money from it.
Have you ever wondered why some of these scams are worded or communicated in such an unconvincing way? Why did the scammers not make their stories more real?
It is intentional.
The crooks are not stupid. They deliberately calibrate the believability of their stories to sieve out the really dumb and gullible victims. That’s because these people are more likely to be tricked into emptying their pockets. If you are a little smart, it would be too much effort for them to waste time on you.
So how can you get back at these scammers?
Be a vigilante and waste their time. Every minute or second you waste is less time for them to scam other victims. In fact, “Scambaiting” is sort of an online sport. You can try it out too and help rid the world of scammers.
Alternatively, if you prefer the more conventional route, call the police hotline at 1800-255 0000, or dial ‘999’ for urgent police assistance to provide them with details on the scam so that they will be able to crack the syndicate earlier.
Now you know about this parcel phone scam, please pass it on and alert more people so that non of your family members, friends or loved ones would ever fall prey to this ruse.