Cosplayers help police raise scam awareness

The EOY J-Culture Festival last weekend saw the police's first collaboration with the cosplay community in a bid to raise awareness about scams.
The EOY J-Culture Festival last weekend saw the police's first collaboration with the cosplay community in a bid to raise awareness about scams.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Cosplayers dress up in costumes and accessories to represent their favourite characters - but what if shady characters put on the same act, pretending to be the cosplayers?

Impersonation scams are in fact a common occurrence in the cosplay community, said popular home-grown cosplayers Yosuke Sora and Maoru.

Yosuke Sora, who is in her early 20s, told The Straits Times she has seen many fake Facebook accounts in her name pop up over the years, with some even soliciting money.

In one case, a store owner used her name and image to sell wigs she did not endorse.

"It's worrying because you don't know what people will do using your name. They can also reach out to your friends and family, and they can post comments online and ruin your reputation," she added.

The cosplayer, who has more than 140,000 followers on Instagram, was asked by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to help raise awareness about scams in the police's first such collaboration with the cosplay community.

At the EOY J-Culture Festival last weekend, Yosuke Sora met fans and shared tips on ways to prevent scams.

The event to celebrate Japanese pop culture was held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Assistant Superintendent Irene Yong, who is also the officer-in-charge of Kampong Java Neighbourhood Police Centre's Community Policing Unit, said:

 
 
 

"Scams are a major concern in Singapore, so the police are reaching out to different platforms to raise awareness."

As the cosplay community spends a significant time online, "we thought they would most likely come across different forms of online scams", she added.

Cosplayers also fall prey to e-commerce scams when buying materials for their costumes.

Maoru, who is also in her early 20s, said: "Cosplaying is an expensive hobby, so sometimes we try to buy things cheaply. Of course, what we get may not look anything like what was advertised. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2019, with the headline 'Cosplayers help police raise scam awareness'. Print Edition | Subscribe