Advertising scam promoting investment endorsed by billionaire Peter Lim resurfaces

The advertisement claims to be written by "Straits Times" and promotes a "new secret investment" endorsed by Mr Peter Lim which has "experts in awe". PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM BLACKBERRYSATURN.COM

SINGAPORE - An advertising scam bearing Singapore billionaire Peter Lim's name has resurfaced.

The advertisement claims to be written by "Straits Times" and promotes a "new secret investment" endorsed by Mr Lim which has "experts in awe".

The fake article also claims that Mr Lim was invited onto news programme Hello Singapore and spoke to host Lin Youyi on the investment opportunity.

A reader who wanted to be identified only as Ms Kho told ST that she saw the advertisement on online selling platform Carousell.

"When I saw the advertisement listing on Carousell with the photograph, I was not sure if it was real," the 40-year-old said. "It said 'Straits Times' and had a logo, which made it seem even more real."

After asking a friend about it, she found out that Mr Lim had previously filed a police report over a similar advertisement.

However, she felt that those who were not aware of previous reports would fall for it and investment in the scheme that the advertisement was promoting.

"All the other logos put together on the site made it even more real," she added.

Logos on the site included those of The New Paper, The Business Times and Singapore Business Review.

In response to queries, Carousell said on Monday (May 27) that the platform has been proactively blocking fake news ads and maintains its own set of blacklisted URLs.

"We have investigated and found that the ads featuring Peter Lim on the Carousell marketplace were a result of one of our third-party ad platforms inadvertently surfacing it," Carousell said, adding that the advertiser has been coming up with different domains and ways to circumvent detection.

Carousell has stopped all activity from the third-party platform and is ensuring that all ads comply with laws and regulations, it added.

"Trust and safety is a top priority for us, and we are committed to delivering a safe and secure marketplace for all our users," the online marketplace said. "We also encourage users to report any suspicious ads on our platform, so we can investigate and take action as quickly as possible."

In 2017, Mr Lim lodged two police reports after his name and images were used in online scams.

One of the scams involved several Facebook accounts that claimed to be the Salford City co-owner's official accounts.

Another involved a claim that Mr Lim endorsed investments in a cryptocurrency.

In 2016, the billionaire filed a police report against online claims that he had endorsed certain investment methods.

Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat raised an alert on fake online reports bearing his name. A news article purportedly from CNN claimed that DPM Heng had invested in a company.

In his Facebook post notifying the public of these reports, he urged Singaporeans to exercise caution when reading information online to avoid falling victim to such scams.

Other high-profile fake news victims in recent times include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and home-grown Mandopop singer Stefanie Sun.

These false endorsements are typically the work of crime gangs, bitcoin experts have previously said.

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