President's image among those used by scammers

A screengrab of the fraudulent website falsely claiming that President Halimah Yacob had launched a new initiative adopting blockchain technology and a new bitcoin trading system platform. The site doctored an image of one of her Facebook posts to gi
A screengrab of the fraudulent website falsely claiming that President Halimah Yacob had launched a new initiative adopting blockchain technology and a new bitcoin trading system platform. The site doctored an image of one of her Facebook posts to give the illusion that she made an announcement to solicit bitcoin investments.

Scammers using fake news sites did not just target Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, but had also tried to use President Halimah Yacob to entice potential victims to part with their money.

Last Friday, President Halimah wrote on her Facebook page that a fraudulent website claimed she had launched a new initiative adopting blockchain technology and a new bitcoin trading system platform.

The site encouraged the public to make deposits via credit card or bank transfer.

Urging caution, President Halimah said: "The information listed on the website is false and misleading. The site had doctored an image of one of my Facebook posts at a dialogue to give the illusion that I had made these announcements, in order to solicit bitcoin investments."

Other prominent people falsely portrayed promoting investments include Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chairman and Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

In a news release on July 31, MAS said it was aware a website had been soliciting investments in bitcoin by using fabricated comments attributed to Mr Goh.

MAS said: "The website's article on bitcoin references statements purportedly made by ESM Goh which are either false or have been taken out of context and used in a misleading way."

Requesting credit card and banking details, the site also asked readers to make a minimum initial deposit of $250 into a purported trading platform, MAS said.

 

A check by The Straits Times showed the ads can no longer be found.

Police have advised the public to be cautious about investing in such schemes as they are not regulated by the MAS. Anyone with information on fraudulent activities occurring through such unregulated online trading platforms can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2019, with the headline 'President's image among those used by scammers'. Print Edition | Subscribe