Cases of Facebook impersonation scams jump, amount victims lost rises sharply to $1.2m

The cases usually involved scammers pretending to be the victim's family member or friend, then duping the victim into providing his personal details or transferring money to another account.
The cases usually involved scammers pretending to be the victim's family member or friend, then duping the victim into providing his personal details or transferring money to another account.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE – There has been a sharp jump in the number of cases of Facebook impersonation scams and victims, who tend to be the elderly, were cheated of at least $1.2 million.

At least 45 such cases were recorded between January and September, the police said, compared with 24 in the same period last year.

In the first nine months of last year, victims lost $740,000.

The cases usually involved scammers pretending to be a member of a victim’s family or a friend, who then dupe the victim into providing his personal details or transferring money to another account. Victims are usually told they would be receiving a larger sum of money for doing so.

Those aged 60 and above were more likely to be cheated, the police said, adding that this was , “likely because they are not aware that Facebook accounts could be hacked or spoofed”.

“They tend to be more trusting,” police said on Monday (Nov 25).

To avoid getting scammed, the police have advised the public to beware of unusual requests received on social media platform or text messages and to be especially cautious when these ask for money or personal information, such as One-Time Passwords (OTP) that authorise money transfers. 

When these come from friends or family members, people should also take the extra step to check with the sender if they are genuine. “But do not do so through the social media platform as the account might have been taken over by scammers,” the police warned. 

To provide information related to such scams, the public should call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

 

Scam-related advice can also be found at www.scamalert.sg or on the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688.