MOH warns of scammers impersonating its employees, COVID-19 contact tracing teams

Singapore

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) said it was aware of scammers using automated voice calls or impersonating its staff members and COVID-19 contact tracing personnel.

Fraudsters have requested personal information from people, including financial details; or have asked them to collect documents from the ministry, MOH said in an advisory on Friday (Mar 27).

According to Scam Alert’s website, numerous people have come forward with similar experiences.

One person said on Friday they had received a call from MOH in both English and Chinese about an outstanding “urgent matter” and that “medical benefits will be ceased in two weeks’ time”. They were asked to press “9” on their phone for further assistance.

“Upon pressing ‘9’, it was connected to an operator (guy) who spoke in Chinese … He then asked if I could speak in Chinese,” the person wrote on Scam Alert.

A day earlier, another person reported a similar case and sensed something was wrong.

“I received this automated call in Chinese saying it’s from MOH (and) was redirected to someone who also spoke in Chinese asking me if I (had) received any messages from MOH,” the person said.

“I felt it was off … He said they had a Chinese department and then told me to go down to collect documents at MOH’s office. I told him I’ll check later myself and he just hung up.”

Another person commented on Mar 22: “It’s so immoral to call people during this time of COVID-19, especially pretending to be from staff of MOH.”

Scam Alert’s website shows complaints of such calls date back to at least a week ago.

“MOH WILL NOT ASK FOR YOUR FINANCIAL DETAILS DURING CONTACT TRACING” 

In its clarification, MOH said: “MOH will not ask for your financial details during contact tracing; and MOH will not ask you to collect documents from us, if you do not have existing matters with us.”

“When in doubt, please verify the authenticity of phone calls by calling MOH hotline at 1800-333-9999.”

READ: Message that student with COVID-19 had visited club is ‘unverified’: Zouk

Earlier this week, nightclub Zouk was the target of unverified claims. A message circulating on social media said that a student with COVID-19 had visited Zouk.

The club and its employees have neither been issued a quarantine order, nor did it receive any notice from health and government authorities on such an incident, a Zouk spokesperson said.

READ: ’There is no lockdown’: Lawrence Wong debunks WhatsApp rumour about COVID-19

There were also rumours online of an impending lockdown last weekend in Singapore that National Development Minister Lawrence Wong debunked.

“There is a rumour going around on WhatsApp – some of you may have heard the rumour – that there is going to be a lockdown in Singapore this weekend. Can I just make it very clear – there is no lockdown,” Mr Wong said in a press conference last Friday.

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