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Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Police Advisory on Scams Targeting Users of Social Media Platforms

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by November 8, 2016 Technology

The Police have observed that scammers are using social media platforms and dating websites such as QQ, Wechat, Facebook, Line, and Okcupid to reach their victims. Typical scam tactics employed by scammers on these platforms are as follows:

a) China Official Impersonation Scam — Victims received unsolicited messages from a spoofed local telephone number containing “999” or a spoofed China telephone number containing “110” for the Chinese Police. Victims were told that they had committed criminal offences and were required to assist in criminal investigations. They were then instructed to provide further information, such as internet banking details and One-Time Password (OTP), for investigation purposes or directed to a fake website of the Singapore Police Force or the China Police to key in their banking details. Some victims were threatened with the revocation of their work permits or repatriation to their country if they failed to comply. The scammers then used the personal and banking information to access the victims’ internet banking accounts to make illegal transactions. In some cases, the victims were instructed by the scammers to transfer a sum of money using bitcoin vending machines. At the bitcoin vending machine, the victims were told to scan a QR Code provided by the scammers, before they deposit the money into the machine. This QR code would contain information of a bitcoin account (wallet). The bitcoin vending machine then converts the cash into the digital currencies which will be transferred into the anonymous recipient’s account.

b) Foreign Investment Scam — Victims received unsolicited messages from unknown individuals who claimed to be brokers or staff from Hong Kong banks or Hong Kong financial security firms. Thereafter, the victims will be introduced to attractive investments packages that promised returns of 10 to 50 times the amount invested. Victims were instructed to transfer their money to banks in Hong Kong and China, and also told to pay administrative fees, security fees and other taxes to receive the profits and returns;

c) Internet Love Scam — Victims received friend requests from unknown individuals and eventually develop a romantic relationship or friendship with them. Thereafter victims will be asked to lend the other party some money on pretext of various reasons such as payment for tax to release a gift that was stuck at customs or investment into seemingly attractive investment packages. Victims were typically instructed to transfer money to banks in Hong Kong and China.

These scams involve victims transferring money overseas to someone they do not know well and / or have never met personally before. The best defence against scammers is prevention. The Police would like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when using social media platforms, as scammers are believed to be using such platforms as tools to scam victims of their money.

Call the agency’s official telephone number to check that they had contacted you. It is unlikely for government agencies to send unsolicited messages or make unsolicited calls to members of the public on the social media for official matters.

Ignore instruction to remit or transfer money. Do not give out personal information and bank account details to strangers. Criminals can use the personal information and bank details such as internet bank account username and password, OTP code from token and impersonate you;

Exercise caution when befriending strangers through social media platforms. Be wary when asked to send money overseas.

Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgement; and

If you have information related to such crime or if you are in doubt, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or call 999 for urgent Police assistance.

Source: Singapore Police Force

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