SMS about winning new phone from Challenger? Duplicate Harvey Norman Facebook account? They're fake

In Challenger's case, it involves an SMS sent to its customers that falsely claims they had won a mobile phone in a contest.
In Challenger's case, it involves an SMS sent to its customers that falsely claims they had won a mobile phone in a contest.PHOTO: CHRISTINE LOH/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - In less than a week, hackers have twice impersonated electronic giants Challenger and Harvey Norman, in a bid to stage phishing attacks by directing customers to fake sites.

On Monday (Sept 9), both companies issued advisories warning people about such scams, reiterating the warnings they had given six days earlier, on Sept 3.

In Challenger's case, it involves an SMS sent to its customers that falsely claims they had won a mobile phone in a contest. The customers are then led to a website where they are asked to key in their credit card details to pay for a processing fee.

When contacted, Challenger told The Straits Times on Monday it communicates with its customers only through its official Facebook page, app and shopping sites.

It does not do it via SMS.

Said its spokesman: "Challenger would like to remind members of the public to only trust promotions and information shared on our official communication channels, which include posts made on official Challenger Facebook page, notifications and messages via our ValueClub app and ValueClub emails, or on our Hachi.tech shopping site."

Challenger's spokesman did not explain how the hackers obtained the contact details of the customers, but acknowledged there have been scams as well as fake sites that have used the company's name.

She urged customers to contact the company at voice@challenger.sg to verify the authenticity of any messages they receive from Challenger.

It had issued a similar warning on its Facebook page last Tuesday (Sept 3).

Separately, furniture and electronics retailer Harvey Norman posted an alert on its website on Monday (Sept 9), warning people that "an unknown entity has been impersonating Harvey Norman Singapore through Facebook".

The fake Facebook page, which has disappeared from the social media platform, was named "Harvey Norman-Singapore", which resembles closely the legitimate "Harvey Norman Singapore" Facebook page.


Harvey Norman posted an alert on its website on Sept 9, warning people that "an unknown entity has been impersonating Harvey Norman Singapore through Facebook". PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM HARVEYNORMAN.COM.SG

"Please take note that this Facebook page is not endorsed by Harvey Norman Singapore," said the company on its website, which also showed screenshots of the fraudulent account.

It is not known what kind of information the fraudulent page had asked customers to provide, but Harvey Norman advises people not to click on the link or open any attachments on the Facebook page.

On Sept 3, the company had posted on its website about a similar case.

 
 
 
 

Said the company's website: "Harvey Norman will not request for your personal information or credit card details via unsolicited messages."

Several instances of fake news have been circulating online recently.

On Aug 24, the police issued an advisory debunking fake online reports alleging extreme violence and "turf wars" between gangs Omega and Salakau in Singapore.

On Aug 16, the Monetary Authority of Singapore warned people that a website was soliciting bitcoin investments by using fabricated comments from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The website was designed to look like it was linked to Singapore Press Holdings.

•Not sure if something is fake news? Readers can send an e-mail with their questions and a link to the suspect article to askst@sph.com.sg

•Reports published can be found on the ST website under a special "fake news debunked" section at http://str.sg/fake-news