Despite us priding ourselves as tech-savvy people, we can’t help but get a feeling of fear when we see our entire computer screen flash the Singapore Police Force (SPF) website with the words “Your browser has been locked due to” certain reasons.
Could it be a virus? Did the Wuhan virus spread to the Internet? Or did I really do something wrong? What do I do now?
Well, the SPF has actually released a statement to clarify that it’s actually a scam.
Fake Police Website
It was found that scammers have been using a Web browser’s full-screen mode that shows victims a Windows 10 desktop image of the SPF website.
This fake police website then claims that the victims’ Web browser has been “blocked due to (the) viewing and dissemination of materials forbidden by (the) law of Singapore, namely pornography with pedophilia, rape and zoophilia” in grammatically incorrect English.
The victims may also believe that their computers are locked because they are unable to click on the “Start” menu or close and open applications due to the scam display being mostly an image.
The website also tells the victims that they have to pay a fine of $1,000 by inputting their credit card details – like their card number, name, card expiry date, and card verification value (CVV) – in order to unlock their computers.
They are also given a time frame of six hours to pay the fine, otherwise, “criminal proceedings” will be initiated against them.
Don’t Be Fooled
According to SPF, these kinds of websites are actually phishing websites made to cheat victims of their personal information and banking details. The scammers would then make use of the stolen information to make unauthorised purchases and transactions, thus resulting in the victims losing their money.
Also, if you notice that the English sounds a bit off in their warning, like “in order to unlocking” and “due to commitment a crime”, which are both grammatically wrong, you should be warier and more alert that this isn’t what it may seem to be.
SPF has also clarified that scammers do not actually have the access to lock a person’s desktop computer, and that the official SPF website is www.police.gov.sg.
What Should I Do?
If you find yourself in this situation where you see the fake police website, don’t panic and try to press your computer’s Alt+Tab keys to see if you are able to return back to your normal desktop display.
Alternatively, you can press the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys to open your computer’s task manager to end any Web browser processes.
Please also do not ever give out your personal information and bank details like your Internet bank account username and password. This also includes your one-time password codes from tokens. This information can be abused by criminals to do criminal activities.
If you have any information regarding this scam or similar crimes, or if you have any questions, you can call the police hotline at 1800 255 0000, or visit www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
If you’re in need of scam-related advice, you can call the anti-scam helpline at 1800 722 6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.
If you would like to receive up-to-date messages about scams, you can join the “Let’s Fight Scams” campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight.
Or you can subscribe to our YouTube channel, whereby we’ve done videos in collaboration with the police to fight scams, like this video: