S$2 million increase in money cheated through WhatsApp, Facebook & Instagram scams for 1st half of 2020

The cons typically involved the scammers impersonating the victim's friends.

Andrew Koay | November 24, 2020, 12:03 PM

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) received at least 1,188 reports of social media impersonation scams in the first six months of 2020.

This was a marked increase from the same period last year — where only 83 cases were reported — with the SPF warning they have observed the "re-emergence" of such scams.

In addition, the total amount cheated also increased to S$2.8 million, from at least S$726,000 in the first half of 2019.

According to a news release, such cons typically involved the scammers impersonating the victim's friends using compromised or spoofed WhatsApp, Facebook, or Instagram accounts.

They would then trick the victim into disclosing their credit card information and one-time password (OTP).

Recent Qoo10 impersonation scams

More recently, the SPF said, victims have received fake Qoo10 campaign messages from their friends over WhatsApp, purporting that they had won a lucky draw.

The messages then led victims to fake Qoo10 websites requesting their personal details like mobile numbers, internet banking details, and OTP.

These were obtained under the pretext of being a requirement for the victims to claim their prize.

However, victims later discovered that unauthorised fraudulent transactions had been made on their credit cards and bank accounts without their consent.

The SPF advises the public to adopt the following crime prevention measures:

  • Be wary of unexpected requests or offers from social media contacts, especially those related to lucky draws or contests
  • Be wary of URL links provided in unsolicited text messages, especially those related to deals that seem too good to be true
  • Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources
  • Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone
  • Report any fraudulent credit/debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately

If you wish to provide any information related to such scams, please call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit it online here.

Top image from Singapore Police Force and AARN GIRI via Unsplash

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