SINGAPORE - The Instagram account has photos of local actress Xiang Yun plastered all over and a profile photo of her. But it has only 54 followers and has been asking her acquaintances for "investments".
If this sounds fishy, that is because it is - the account was impersonating Xiang Yun.
The account's user was sending messages claiming to know of ways to "invest" with the International Monetary Fund.
Those targeted were asked to give between $1,500 and $15,000, and promised profits of up to $450,000, Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao reported on Tuesday (Aug 28).
Xiang Yun's husband, celebrity Edmund Chen, has since warned fans and friends on social media and other channels to stay vigilant and not get scammed.
"Today, I received a message from a friend who wanted to verify a message from 'Xiang Yun' about an 'investment' project. This is a fake account, please be cautious, don't be fooled," Chen said in a post on his official Instagram account on Monday.
The post also showed an image of the fake account, named "xiang yun" with the description "Mediacorp actress & television host".
Chen, 57, told The Straits Times that they have not made a police report, but hoped they had responded quickly enough to warn others.
He said that after getting his friend's tip-off, he immediately told the rest of his family, and alerted close friends about the scam.
Chen told Wanbao that when his friend confronted the fake account, its operator insisted that the user was Xiang Yun.
Said Chen: "This sort of scams are happening more frequently now, it's getting very ugly. We really hope that it doesn't happen again."
Official social media accounts belonging to well-known people are often marked with a blue tick beside their username, indicating the account has been verified. The fake Xiang Yun account, which was still up as of 7.30pm on Tuesday, does not.
Another tell-tale sign is the number of followers the account has. For example, while Xiang Yun's official Instagram account has over 76,300 followers, the fake account has only 54.
ST reported earlier this month that the police rounded up 55 suspects in relation to 77 scams involving transactions exceeding $1.8 million.Some of these scams involved the use of social media and e-commerce.
Online scams have been on the rise, according to police statistics released last week. Such scams include fake loan schemes, fraudulent e-commerce sales, and scammers claiming to be Chinese officials.