120% rise in cases of fraudulent purchases charged to mobile phone bills: Police

The total loss victims have incurred from this year's cases is at least $16,000.
The total loss victims have incurred from this year's cases is at least $16,000.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There have been 130 cases of victims being cheated of money via fraudulent purchases charged to their mobile phone bills from the start of this year to November, said the police.

This is an increase of 120 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The total loss victims have incurred from this year's cases is at least $16,000.

In a statement on Wednesday (Dec 13), the police said victims reported having provided a three-digit PIN number to the scammers.

In most of these cases, the scammers initiated contact with the victims by sending friend requests via Facebook. In some cases, the scammers even created Facebook accounts that closely resembled that of the victims' friends, said the police.

They would then ask for the victims' mobile phone numbers and mobile service providers.

Next, the scammers would make online purchases of gaming credits/online gift cards using the victims' mobile phone numbers. The purchases were charged to the victims' mobile phone bills after the victims provided their one-time passwords (OTPs) or verification codes to the scammers.

The police advised the public to take the following precautions:

1. Do not share your personal information including OTPs/verification codes with anyone.

2. Be wary of friend requests from strangers on social networking sites.

3. If you receive a friend request via a social networking site, verify with your friend via another means of communication before accepting the request.

4. Report any fraudulent charges on your mobile phone bill to your mobile service provider immediately.

5. If in doubt, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg