Fraudsters are always on the lookout for targets and they are getting more creative and sophisticated in their scams. This is not like receiving a random call which hangs up after you pick up. These days, they tap on your emotions to trick you. This means that you, or someone you know could lose everything they own – in a matter of seconds.
One of the important measures that banks have taken is to move away from SMS alerts to Email and In-app Notifications instead.
Here are the top scams in Singapore to watch out for:
Increased by 74% from 2021, with 4,762 victims in 2022
• Involves fake sellers or buyers on online marketplace or social media platforms. We’ve or heard many stories of sellers disappearing after the funds have been transferred.
• Visit the Ministry of Home Affairs website for safety ratings of major e-commerce marketplaces, and what to look out for when transacting online. A bargain that sounds too good to be true could be a scam, so to be on the safe side, shop with reputable companies.
Fake Friends Fraudsters
Increased by 207% from 2021, with 2,106 victims in 2022
• Typically involves a scammer calling – or even texting or posting a DM – a victim pretending to be a friend, relative or acquaintance. Scammers would ask the victims to guess their identity with questions such as: “Guess who am I?” or “You can’t remember me?”.
• Another version of this scam is the fraudster contacting the victim to say that their friend/relative/acquaintance is in trouble (in some cases, kidnapped).
• They will then claim to be in urgent need of funds, seeking financial assistance from the victims.
Increased by 43% from 2021, with 6,492 victims in 2022
• Scammers may approach victims with job offers promising high returns with minimal efforts on messaging apps or social media. Sometimes, they involve helping fraudsters ‘buy’ items from online shopping platforms in exchange for higher ratings. Many younger people fall victim to these scams.
• Scammers may claim they are from legitimate recruitment companies.
Increased by 26% from 2021, with 3,108 victims in 2022
• Be wary of people or companies offering investment returns that are unreasonably high (like in this example).
• Online trading platforms that offer binary options may be fraudulent. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has a list of local companies that aren’t authorised.
• Be cautious of unfamiliar platforms or entities based outside of Singapore.
Protect yourself with these tips:
• Do NOT click on links in any unusual or suspicious SMSes and/or emails, or provide any personal details (such as your login credentials, PINs or OTPs).
• Never transfer money to someone you’ve never met or to organisations you don’t know.
• Always get more information before transferring funds to someone you don’t know. The payee’s name for PayNow is editable and may not be the beneficiary’s actual name.
• Check the URL in web browser to ensure it is a legitimate website.
• If your bank offers an emergency self-service “kill switch” that lets you freeze your bank accounts, do so if you suspect that your accounts have been compromised.
Source: Statistics and data taken from Channel News Asia, released by the Singapore Police Force (SPF)