MP Zainal Sapari alerts social media friends and followers to 'scam' Facebook page in his name

Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari has alerted his social media friends and followers to an imposter posing as him in a Facebook account and asking for money. -- PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK
Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari has alerted his social media friends and followers to an imposter posing as him in a Facebook account and asking for money. -- PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari has alerted his social media friends and followers to an imposter posing as him in a Facebook account and asking for money.

"An unknown person has created a scam Facebook page using my name and photo," the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon.

The fake Facebook account bears the MP's name - Zainal Bin Sapari - as well as the photo that Mr Zainal previously used as his profile picture. In it, he is wearing a collared shirt and smiling.

The scammer asks Mr Zainal's contacts to add him as a friend on Facebook, and then informs them that he has received some money from the United Nations Development Programme.

"He will then ask for your particulars. I'm not sure, but I think it will eventually reach a stage where he will supposedly transfer money to your bank account - but before that, you will have to pay a 'processing fee'," Mr Zainal told The Straits Times on Tuesday evening.

He said that he has been alerted to the scam by about 50 people so far.

 

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"Initially I was a bit worried when I found out. But when more people sent me messages to alert me, I realised that they were savvy enough to know that it is a scam. I'm very grateful and appreciative that many of them took the trouble to alert me and express their concern," he said.

But Mr Zainal has yet to make a police report: "I thought of doing so, but decided against it. I don't think the police can do much as I suspect it doesn't originate locally. But if more MPs get scammed, then I might make a police report."

He is not the first, he said, noting that former Marine Parade GRC MP Mohamad Maidin Packer had been similarly impersonated in October.

Mr Zainal urged his Facebook followers not to fall prey to the scam and to report the fake account to Facebook's administrator.

He said that he could not do so himself as he has been blocked from accessing the page. He has has since changed the profile picture on his real Facebook page to that of his seven-year-old son crying.

He said it was a "tongue-in-cheek" reaction to the fake profile page, and to help his followers identify the real page from the fake one.

charyong@sph.com.sg