Be on guard against resurgent Facebook message scam: Police

Scammers send Facebook messages to victims claiming that they lost their phones and need the victims' phone numbers and a one-time password.
Scammers send Facebook messages to victims claiming that they lost their phones and need the victims' phone numbers and a one-time password.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Watch out for scammers who ask for your phone number and passwords via Facebook messenger, the police said in a Facebook post on Monday (Jan 8).

Scammers send messages to victims claiming that they lost their phones and need the victims' phone numbers and a one-time password (OTP).

Such OTPs can be used for fraudulent purchases which are charged to the victims' phone bills.

The scam was a resurgent one that first occurred last year.

There were 130 such cases received by the police between January and November last year, with at least $16,000 in total lost to scammers last year, the police said on their website.

Most of the cases involved scammers who sent their victims friend requests on Facebook. Some of them would create Facebook accounts that resembled those of their friends to ask for the victims' mobile phone numbers and what mobile service providers they used.

They would then make online purchases of gaming credits or online gift cards using the victims' mobile phone numbers.

These purchases were charged to the victims' phone lines after the latter gave their OTPs or verification codes to the scammers.

The victims would find out that they were scammed only when they received their mobile phone bills.

At the same time, a similar scam via Facebook messenger has been making its rounds recently, where the victim gets a message with their photo in it.

The message claims the victim was in a video and invites the victim to click on the link. It contains the user's profile picture and is titled after the user's name.

It says: "(User name) This video is yours?" and includes a high number of purported views. It also comes with an emoticon showing a surprised face.

According to a report by tech news site Bleepingcomputer.com in August last year, clicking on the link on Google Chrome takes victims to a fake YouTube channel with a malicious extension.

It is believed that scammers use the extension to push adware and collect credentials for new Facebook accounts that they use to perpetuate the scam.

Users who come across this scam should avoid clicking on the links and reach out to the person who sent out the message to advise them to change their account credentials.