Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has filed a police report over the circulation of a false personal email requesting the 'contribution and thoughts' of Singaporeans regarding the Covid-19 situation.
Email is a phishing scam
In a Facebook post put up on Mar. 30, Lee debunked the email as false and attached a photo of the email in question, with the words "phishing scam" overlaid over the image in red.
Noting that the email encouraged recipients to reply with their perspectives on the ongoing outbreak, he said that recipients should not reply to the email, provide their personal information, or forward it towards their friends and family.
He added,"These are unscrupulous characters trying to exploit the current crisis to dupe you. Be extra careful, and stay safe online."
What did the email itself say?
The email began with a reassurance that Singapore's government was responding to the ongoing pandemic and that they were "humbled" by the commitments and contributions of Singaporeans.
Attempted to sound superficially similar to PM Lee's speech
It then attempted to strike a superficially similar tone and sentiment to PM Lee's second address on Covid-19 by stating:
"From the onset of this situation, we have been working hand in hand with the appropriate ministries for accurate and up-to-date information, and our plan reflects those inputs.
As things evolve, we are actively monitoring the crisis and assessing the risks. We are ready to implement immediate changes to ensure a high level of safety.
For comparison, here is an excerpt from PM Lee's speech in question:
"I am sharing these plans with you to reassure you that we are on top of things, and thinking ahead. We anticipated the medical and economic consequences. I am confident that we can deal with them."
Points to preventive measures implemented, without going into details
Subsequently, the email touched on the "preventive measures" implemented thus far, such as "closing down populated places" and "implementing movement restriction order."
It also highlighted the "supplementary budget" implemented to "counter economic fallout".
However, the email does not give the specific details as to what any of these measures entail, such as the closure of bars, clubs and cinemas, nor does it give any specific information about the Resilience Budget.
The email then concluded with the statement that it was a "personal email" from Lee which he monitored himself personally, along with the following request:
"I will appreciate a response, your contribution and thoughts towards these trying times."
Here is PM Lee's post in full:
"A fake email that purports to come from me is circulating online. The email gives an update on the COVID-19 situation, and encourages them to respond with their contributions and thoughts to the situation.
If you receive such an email, do not respond to it. Also do not provide any personal information. And please do not forward it to your friends and family.
I have reported the incident to the Singapore Police Force. These are unscrupulous characters trying to exploit the current crisis to dupe you. Be extra careful, and stay safe online. – LHL"
Top image collage from PM Lee Facebook