About $35,000 lost to new type of scam where scammers pose as buyers on online marketplaces

At least 44 victims fell prey to such scams since last month.
At least 44 victims have fallen prey to such scams since last month, the police said.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - About $35,000 has been lost since last month to a new type of scam, in which scammers pose as buyers on online marketplaces.

At least 44 victims have fallen prey to such scams since last month, the police said on Tuesday (Nov 23).

The scammers would first approach victims on online marketplaces and express interest in buying items that the victims were selling. After they agreed on the sale, the scammers would ask to make payment via PayNow.

The victims would then receive an e-mail purportedly from the online marketplace, indicating that payment had been made, but that they were required to access a URL link to receive their payment.

Those who accessed the links were led to fake Web pages impersonating those of banks. They were told to log in to their bank account to receive payment.

The victims only realised that they were scammed when they discovered unauthorised transactions made on their bank accounts.

The police urged members of the public not to click on links provided in unsolicited e-mails and text messages, and to verify buyers' profiles on online marketplaces through reviews and ratings.

"Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources, for instance, to check the sender's e-mail address. Verify the authenticity of such mode of payment with the respective online marketplaces," added the police.


A screenshot of a fraudulent e-mail directing victims to a phishing website to receive payment. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Members of the public were also reminded not to disclose their Internet banking details and password to anyone, and to immediately report any fraudulent transactions to their banks.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit Sam Alert's website or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on such scams may also call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at Scam Alert's website.