At least $1m lost to Facebook impersonation scams, say police

Police said they had received at least 42 reports where victims were contacted on Facebook and duped into transferring money.
Police said they had received at least 42 reports where victims were contacted on Facebook and duped into transferring money.PHOTO: REUTERS

Police said yesterday they had received at least 42 reports where victims were contacted on Facebook and duped into transferring money to scammers.

At least $1 million was lost to Facebook impersonation scams between January last year and this month, police said in an advisory.

Using compromised Facebook accounts belonging to the victims' friends, the scammers enticed their victims with various types of grants.

The victims were told that to receive the grants, they had to provide their personal details and transfer money to bank accounts or remit sums overseas.

Police said the victims realised they were cheated only after verifying with their actual Facebook friends.

To guard against falling for such scams, police advised the public to adopt these measures:

• Be aware of unusual requests or text messages, even if they were sent by social media contacts

 
 
 

• Be wary of get-rich-quick offers that ask you to transfer money in return for a greater fortune.

• If in doubt, verify the authenticity of the request or text message by contacting your friend, but do not do so through the social media platform as the account might have been taken over by scammers.

Police also advised against transferring money or giving out personal information, credit or debit card details and bank account details to strangers.

Those who wish to provide any information related to such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

For urgent police assistance, call 999.

To seek scam-related advice, the public may call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.

Ng Huiwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2019, with the headline 'At least $1m 1ost to Facebook impersonation scams, say police'. Print Edition | Subscribe