Robbers checking on valid ID for upcoming election? It's true, but it's in South Africa

A viral text message warning recipients in Singapore and Malaysia to be wary of a group of people "pretending to be officials from home affairs" is an actual official message issued in South Africa back in October 2017. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM DHA.GOV.ZA

SINGAPORE - A text message being circulated here and across the Causeway warns recipients to be wary of a group of people "pretending to be officials from home affairs".

"They have documents with the letterhead Department of Home Affairs and claim to be confirming that everyone has a valid ID for the upcoming elections. They are robbing homes," reads the text message.

Fake news?

Not quite.

The warning was issued by the Republic of South Africa's Department of Home Affairs and carried on its website in October 2017.

Singapore does not have a Department of Home Affairs but a Ministry of Home Affairs. The viral message is also making its rounds in Malaysia.

On Thursday (Jan 11), a 10-member Select Committee on fake news was formed following a three-hour debate in Singapore's Parliament a day earlier.

The committee's mandate is to examine and report on causes and consequences of online falsehoods, and to propose countermeasures, including legislation that may be needed.

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