A phone call from a man posing as a DHL employee led the company’s chief executive to launch an anti-scam campaign

SINGAPORE – Mr Christopher Ong received a call in late 2020 from a Mandarin-speaking fraudster who claimed to be from the “Chinese department” of delivery company DHL and asked for his bank details to exchange a high-value package.

The scammer didn’t know he was talking to the general manager of DHL Express Singapore.

Mr. Ong, 48, immediately realized he was dealing with a scammer as his company does not have such a service.

He jotted down details of the caller’s requests and how it worked, before telling the scammer, “We don’t have a Chinese department at DHL. I’m the general manager.”

He told the Straits Times: “I wanted to understand how they work so I can educate our people on how scammers work.

“I thought surely we could do more to fight the scams.”

Mr Ong recalled the incident as he spoke about DHL’s campaign to distribute anti-scam notices to some 600,000 delivery customers from October to December last year to educate the public about the scams.

The logistics company was one of 45 organizations to receive a Community Partnership Award at New Phoenix Park Police Headquarters on Thursday, April 7.

In DHL’s first collaboration with the police, the company stuck notices on parcels telling customers to beware of suspicious online offers and sellers who insist on payment outside the sales platform.

The campaign initially targeted around 20,000 residents of the Hougang area, but in December it was expanded to the entire island to reach 600,000 households.

Mr Ong noted that the company was receiving more calls about scams as more shoppers turned to online platforms amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and feared there be an increase in scams as Christmas approaches.

Police reported in a presentation at the ceremony that $5.8 million was lost to e-commerce scams in 2021.

They said in a previous report that in such cases, scammers may lure victims with cheap offers but cease contact once payment is made, never delivering the promised goods.

Scammers can also pose as staff of delivery companies and claim that additional payment is needed to facilitate the delivery of their purchases to obtain personal and banking information through phishing, police added.

For more information about scams, members of the public can visit this website or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688.

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