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2020, $60 Million Scammed in Singapore. 2021, $160 Million Scammed Thus Far, And We Are Only In October

Scams are on the rise in Singapore, the most popular being job scams, e-commerce and investment scams. The total amount of money lost in such scams increased from $63 million in 2020 to $168 million in 2021. That’s almost a threefold increase in a year!

Source: Woodlands East NPC

Scammers are smart in the way they exploit their potential victims’ vulnerability and uncertainty especially in the time of pandemic we are living in today. As such, we must remain vigilant and be on the lookout for tell-tale signs.

Source: Woodlands East NPC

JOB SCAMS

One of the most common ones today. Their modus operandi is to either send unsolicited Whatsapp messages or lure potential victims via ads on social media platforms like Facebook.

Source: Yishun NPC
  1. The ads or messages will offer a part-time job with a daily salary between SGD300-500. Some examples include, scammers having a profile picture of a leading e-commerce site in Singapore.
Source: Jurong West NPC

2. The message will include a number as a link to sign up for the job. Once clicked upon, the victim will be added into a group chat. This is called social proof, where everyone in the group chat says it’s good, thus it is a good deal.

3. This is when the scam starts. The job typically requires victims to “improve” the sales of e-commerce platform merchants by making advance purchases. Instructions include adding items to the shopping cart, taking a screenshot as proof and then to make payment by transferring money to the number provided by the scammer.

Source: Yishun North NPC

4. Refunds with commision will be made initially by the scammers to prove that they’re authentic. However, later transactions will suddenly have issues and will eventually stop paying the victims. And poof goes the scammer with the money.

BE VIGILANT! Look for the red flags.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

  • Receive calls for a part time job when you didn’t apply
  • Asking for payment in advance
  • The offer seems too good to be true
  • Receive text messages offering jobs with lucrative returns for little effort

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO

  • Always remain calm.
  • Download app from official app stores
  • Always verify the authenticity of the job with official source
  • Be careful when you receive such job offers. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • For more information on scams, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800 722 6688 or visit scamalert.sg

JOB/INVESTMENT SCAMS: CRYPTOCURRENCY CRAZE

Source: Bukit Panjang NPC
  • Download fake mobile apps to grab the job via application.
Source: Yishun North NPC
  • Top up funds into their accounts on the apps either via bank transfer or conversion to cryptocurrency. Then transfer the amounts to the scammers wallet.

    Source: Yishun North NPC
  • Commissions will be given initially by the scammers after completing tasks. As always, the transfers will encounter problems later on and the money will stop coming in. Victims won’t be able to withdraw from the wallets.
  • If victims refuse to transfer more money, here’s when the scammers will change tactics to pressure them by providing “warning letters” bearing the emblems of SPF, Supreme Courts etc.

E-COMMERCE SCAMS

Singapore Police Force urges the public to be vigilant especially in the upcoming sales like 10.10, 11.11, 12.12.

Source: Yishun North NPC

Most common scams include deals that are too good to be true like a brand new high end smartphone and gadgets being offered at 40% below market price.

Source: Yishun North NPC

Always transact safely using in-platform secured payment options or opt for cash on delivery.

Source: Woodlands East NPC

Remember!

  • Be sceptical of incredulous promises and deals that are simply too good to be true.
  • Deals that are way below market price disguised as limited time only or flash deals
  • High demand gadgets or items that are priced much lower
  • Lack of information on the products or unstated terms and conditions.
  • Insists on bank transfers instead of using the platform’s payment options.
  • Request to take the conversations off the shopping platform.

Use ScamShield to protect yourself from being scammed.

What it does:

  • Filter out SMSes and phone calls sent and made by scammers, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) launched ScamShield – a mobile application (app) – on 20 November 2020. It is currently available for iPhone users.
  • The app, jointly developed by NCPC and the Open Government Products team from Government Technology Agency (Govtech), identifies and filters out scam messages using artificial intelligence. It also blocks calls from phone numbers that were used in other scam cases or reported by ScamShield users. These two functions reduce opportunities for scammers to reach out to intended victims.
  • Since its launch, the app has been downloaded by more than 200,000 iOS users. More than 1.4 million SMSes and over 8,600 phone numbers believed to be used for scam calls have been blocked.
  • The android version of the app is expected to be released towards the end of 2021.

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Belalang Biru

Written by Belalang Biru

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