SINGAPORE - Using fake Halloween Horror Nights tickets as bait, scammers are now luring people into a job scam which involves victims supposedly earning commission by booking hotel rooms.
Victims are told that a hotel booking platform, sunshine.co.uk, is run by a British company that has partnered the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to expand its presence here.
They are first contacted on the Telegram messaging app by scammers who ask for their phone numbers in exchange for free tickets to Universal Studios Singapore. Halloween Horror Nights is held yearly at Universal Studios Singapore, which is one of the attractions in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).
These details are then passed on to another scammer, who sends them the fake tickets via e-mail before introducing themselves as marketers from sunshine.co.uk.
Victims are then told by the scammer that hotels engage marketers such as themselves to increase their occupancy rate, which would boost the popularity of the hotel.
The scammer invites the victim to become a part-time marketer and earn cash by creating an account on a website which they claim is affiliated with the booking platform sunshine.co.uk.
When contacted by ST, sunshine.co.uk did not respond by press time.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, STB said it does not have any promotions or offers with the platform and that it takes a serious view of the incident.
RWS said it has lodged a police report concerning the fake tickets.
It added: "We remind consumers to be vigilant against such offers and against divulging personal information to unknown persons."
It reminded customers to always buy tickets directly from its website, at the resort or through reputable travel agents.
To find out more about the scam, ST replied to one of the scammers message's via Telegram.
ST then created an account on the website and was told to click on a button to "book" the hotels.
For each hotel booked, victims are told they can earn between 3 per cent and 12 per cent commission.
Each day, they must complete 40 bookings in order to withdraw the commission they have earned.
On the website, a "balance" is displayed, showing how much funds are left in the victim's account. But with each booking, the funds left to book the hotels will be depleted.
Victims are then told to top up their accounts when the funds run out so that they can complete the bookings and withdraw the commission.
The police confirmed that a report has been lodged.
Associate Professor Chang Tou Chuang, a tourism geographer from the National University of Singapore's Department of Geography, said that victims may fall for such scams because they believe that hotels with higher occupancy rates would be seen as more popular by guests.
He added: "The tourism industry is a trend-conscious sector, and so too are most patrons. If everybody is staying at a hotel or visiting a site, people assume it is worth visiting."
STB reminds consumers to remain vigilant and to call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688 if they have information related to such cases.