Scammers have shifted their target and it’s now a large group of people—those waiting for new passports.
If you have applied for a new passport and are still waiting for it, you could very well be the next victim.
So here’s what you need to know about the ongoing fake calls.
Scam Calls Number Start with “+65”
On Wednesday (20 Apr), the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) released a notice on their Facebook page, warning the public of scam calls regarding passport issues.
The public had provided feedback saying they had received calls from numbers starting with “+65” relating to problems with their passports, ICA said.
Some of the calls included an automated voice message informing the recipients that their passport applications have been rejected or their passports have been cancelled.
Other calls involved the alleged scammers asking for the recipients’ personal details, such as their NRIC number.
Not From ICA
ICA clarified that these calls were not made by their officers.
“If there is a need to clarify passport matters with applicants, our officers will use landlines (without +65 prefix) to contact them,” ICA wrote.
Meanwhile, ICA advised the public to exercise caution and avoid revealing personal details when they receive unsolicited calls from “+65” numbers about passport issues.
Since 15 April 2020, all local calls made locally would start with “65” instead of “+65”. You can read this article to know more.
Overwhelming Number of Passport Applications
Previously, in early April, ICA had announced a waiting time of at least one month for those who had made passport applications.
This was due to the unprecedented number of applications in March, amounting to a total of one million passports that were either expired or expiring.
So it seems, it is almost the one month mark for many who had applied for new passports.
As such, it is likely that the fake calls were strategically planned for this period as it would no doubt cause alarm to many applicants who are unable to travel without a new passport.
But as with any other scam, you already know the drill—never give out personal information and always check with a verified number on the issues raised.
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