How scammers scam S'poreans on Facebook

It is increasingly easier to become a sucker with doubt-removing technology.

Belmont Lay | January 09, 2018, 12:51 PM

In this day and age of doubt-removing social media, everyone is a friend and/or a follower.

Therefore, everyone has become potential victims as scammers suddenly find themselves with many more new and creative opportunities to exploit the feeble and credulous.

Here are two common methods employed by scammers to fool Singaporeans over Facebook:

Scam 1: Friend requests

A common tactic scammers use these days: Clone Facebook accounts that resemble friends of would-be victims.

Scammers would then send friend requests to their would-be victims on Facebook.

Once the request has been accepted, the scammers would ask for the would-be victims' details via Facebook messenger.


Social hacking.

Scammers send messages to victims claiming that they lost their phones and need the victims' phone numbers, the mobile service providers they use, and a one-time password (OTP) or verification code.

Such OTPs and verification codes can then be used for fraudulent purchases, such as buying gaming credits or online gift cards using the victims' mobile phone numbers.

The costs are charged to the victims' phone bills.

The victims would only later find out that they have been scammed when they receive their mobile phone bills.

This is a resurgent scam that first occurred in 2017.

The Singapore police said there were 130 such cases between January and November last year, with at least S$16,000 in total lost to scammers.


Scam 2: Suspicious video link clickbait

Another scam has been making the rounds in Singapore via Facebook messenger.

The victim gets a message with their photo in it.

The message claims the victim was in a video and invites the victim to click on the link, which shows a high number of video views. It also comes with an emoticon showing a surprised face.

The link contains the user's profile picture and is titled after the user's name.

It says: "(User name) This video is yours?"

Clicking on the link on Google Chrome takes victims to a fake YouTube channel with a malicious extension.

It is believed that scammers use the extension to push adware and collect credentials for new Facebook accounts that they use to perpetuate the scam.

This scam also originated in 2017.

Users who come across this messages can avoid clicking on the links and advice the person impersonated to change account credentials.