SINGAPORE - Swindlers have been using fake celebrity news in their get-rich cryptocurrency scams. Just ask local comedian Mark Lee.
A website claimed recently that Lee, 51, had been hospitalised due to a gunshot wound in an attempted murder. It claimed that the attempt came after an interview in which he supposedly said that his top moneymaker was "a new cryptocurrency auto-trading programme called Bitcoin Profit".
But there is at least one sign that something is not right - the website claimed that the interview was conducted by local TV presenter "Wong" Youyi, but her surname is actually Lin.
On Wednesday night (Sept 2), Lee took to his official Facebook and Instagram accounts to refute the report.
Writing in English, he urged the public not to fall for such scams. "I don't even know I was shot and hospitalised. Had made police report but they said nothing can be done as it is from Europe. Anyone know what can I do?"
He added in Chinese whether he should comfort himself that he is famous internationally.
According to a police advisory in May, such fake articles are actually paid online advertisements designed to entice victims to click on links in the article. By clicking on the link, readers will be brought to a different website offering investments in cryptocurrency and/or other financial products.
Those who provide their contact details will usually receive a call promoting the said investments. Those who decide to invest would be instructed to transfer monies to an overseas bank account or make payments using their credit cards.
Lee, who rose to fame in Channel 8 variety show Comedy Nite during the 1990s, is the latest local celebrity to be a victim of such fake news after the likes of director Jack Neo, singer Stefanie Sun, actor Li Nanxing and TV host Bryan Wong.
The scams are typically the work of criminal gangs mostly based in Eastern Europe.