Fake bitcoin website strikes again - this time quoting Tharman

The fake website uses made-up quotes from Monetary Authority of Singapore chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
The fake website uses made-up quotes from Monetary Authority of Singapore chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam.PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday (Dec 3) warned of a fake website that uses made-up quotes from its chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam, following similar concerns voiced by Temasek chief executive Ho Ching last Tuesday.

The fake webpage, which pretends to be a news page from a local media organisation, asks for payments into a bitcoin trading scheme and also tries to trick people into supplying their credit card or bank account information.

"The information on the website is highly deceptive and misleading. The statements attributed to Senior Minister Tharman are completely false," MAS said.

MAS also urged the public to exercise caution and avoid providing personal information on the websites, and to report such cases to the police.

Mr Tharman, who is Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, was also used as an "endorser" of such fake sites in September last year.

Riding on the popularity of international stars and personalities in Singapore, these sites aim to trick the public into putting their money into various bogus schemes, and have this year targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mediacorp actors Bryan Wong and Zoe Tay as well as billionaire Lim Oon Kuin.

Mr Aaron Bugal, a global solutions engineer for Sophos, which specialises in cyber security, said such fake ads could be difficult to get rid of.

"The creators of these campaigns usually expect them to be torn down quickly so have ready-to-execute succession plans. If the ad is removed for one party, the next one will simply recycle it," he told The Straits Times.

He said these ads work because people tend to "trust a name we know and therefore believe the information we are given is true and act upon it".


"This could lead to many disastrous outcomes such as identity theft, further financial fleecing or worse, bankruptcy," he added, noting that supplying personal information on these sites means they are "no longer your information anymore".

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