Singapore police warn of scammers posing as young women from Hong Kong

The senders often claim to be based in Hong Kong.
The senders often claim to be based in Hong Kong.PHOTO: SCREENGRABS FROM SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Scammers are posing as young women in unsolicited text messages, police warned on Friday (March 26).

An increasingly common ruse on platforms such as WhatsApp features a picture of a woman and a message starting with: "Hi, I haven't heard from you for a long time." The senders often claim to be based in Hong Kong.

Police said the messages aim to lure recipients into communicating further with the scammers, who are intent on phishing for personal information and possibly tricking them into handing over funds.

"In such cases, the sender (usually with '+62' prefix) would claim to have changed her mobile phone number and expresses concern over the well-being of the recipient amidst the current Covid-19 situation," said the police.

"The recipients would later be instructed to reply to a different WhatsApp number (usually with '+852' prefix) to continue the conversation."

+62 is the country code for Indonesia, while +852 belongs to phone numbers from Hong Kong.

Members of the public should block the senders and report their phone numbers to messaging platforms through in-app reporting channels, police said. They are also advised to take the following precautionary measures:

a. Ignore the message and do not engage with the scammers;

b. Exercise caution when befriending strangers online;

c. Never send money to people you do not know or have not met in person;

d. Do not click on suspicious URL links provided. When in doubt, always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or alternative sources;

e. Never share bank account log-in credentials with anyone.

Those who have information on scammers or have received a suspicious message can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or send queries online here. For more information on scams, visit this website or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688.