IRAS warns of scam email claiming fund transfer from Bill Gates to recipients

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IRAS is warning the public of a scam email asking recipients to buy an approval pass to receive funds from Bill Gates. (PHOTO: IRAS)
IRAS is warning the public of a scam email asking recipients to buy an approval pass to receive funds from Bill Gates. (PHOTO: IRAS)

SINGAPORE — The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is warning the public of a scam email in which recipients are told to buy an approval pass to receive funds from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

In a post put up on its Facebook page on Friday (21 January), IRAS said that the email is also falsely signed off by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Ng Wai Choong.

It would inform the recipients that their bank accounts have been blocked from receiving a fund transfer of $20 million from Gates, who at one time was the richest man in the world.

The recipients would be told that, to unblock themselves from receiving the money, they would either have to obtain a letter of confirmation from the Bill Gates Foundation, or buy an "international approval pass" to facilitate the transfer.

"Please ignore such emails and do not provide any personal, credit card or bank account details, make any payments to a third party’s bank account or follow any instructions by the sender," IRAS said in its Facebook post.

"IRAS will not ask taxpayers to obtain any kind of approval pass to facilitate a funds transfer. Those who have been affected by this scam are advised to lodge police reports."

The latest scam comes after OCBC Bank announced that it will make goodwill payouts to all customers affected by a recent SMS phishing scam that impersonated the bank. Nearly 470 customers lost at least $8.5 million last month.

Banks in Singapore will remove clickable links in emails or SMS sent to retail customers and implement other additional measures over the next two weeks amid the spate of recent phishing scams, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Association of Banks in Singapore said on Wednesday.

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