Singapore police warns of ad scams targeting Google search users

Singapore has warned of a new scam tactic targeting users of Google’s search platform, some of whom have unwittingly assumed advertisements containing fake bank hotlines to be legitimate. Victims of these scams have already lost more than S$495,000 ($367,775) since December 2021. 

Singapore Police Force (SPF) said these phishing ads would pop up on Google when users searched for a bank’s contact number with the intention of seeking advice for various reasons. These ads would show up amongst the first few search results and contain fake contact details for the bank, the police said in its advisory note released Wednesday. 

Unwitting victims who called these numbers would speak with someone impersonating as a bank employee, who then would proceed to alert them of issues with their bank account, credit or debit cards, or loans. Victims would be instructed to temporarily transfer funds to bank accounts provided by the impersonator, in order to resolve the issue or make payments for outstanding loans. 

Some victims would receive SMS messages with headers spoofing the bank’s Sender ID, so these would appear as legitimate communications from the bank. The messages would either contain instructions to reset the victim’s bank account as part of Singapore’s efforts to

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