SINGAPORE - Job seekers should watch out for a new scam on social media platforms that has swindled at least 11 victims of no less than $53,000 since December.
The police warned on Friday (Jan 7) that it is a new variant of the job scam. It invites victims to participate in jobs that promise commissions through the sale of products on a fake mobile app called Shopee Pay.
The app is unrelated to the e-commerce platform Shopee.
The victims were usually introduced to the job by friends or after being approached on social media platforms.
The victims would be instructed to download the fake Shopee Pay mobile app through a website address provided to them.
To fulfil the job requirements and to transact within the fake mobile app, the victims were told to deposit funds into their Shopee Pay accounts by buying cryptocurrency and transferring them to cryptocurrency wallet addresses indicated within the app.
In some instances, the cryptocurrency would be bought through peer-to-peer transactions via bank transfer or PayNow, before being transferred to the scammers' cryptocurrency wallets.
After the transactions were completed, the fake mobile app would reflect that funds were available for the jobs.
Victims would then have to place items into their carts and pay with the funds in their accounts.
They would then earn commissions for completing the orders, which would be reflected in the app.
In some instances, victims would be told that the Singapore Monetary Authority had frozen their Shopee Pay accounts and further fund top-ups were needed to release funds from their accounts.
Victims eventually discovered that they had been scammed when they could not withdraw the commissions reflected in their Shopee Pay accounts.
Shopee has confirmed that its e-commerce shopping platform is not affiliated to the Shopee Pay mobile app, and that its e-wallet feature, ShopeePay, is accessible only on its official app, said the police.
The police advise members of the public to not accept "dubious job offers that offer lucrative returns for minimal efforts", to not download apps from unverified sources and to not send money to or transact in cryptocurrencies with anyone they do not know personally or have not met in person.
Those with information on such crimes can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it online. They can also dial 999 for urgent police assistance.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit this website or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.