TL;DR – New year, new scam.
It’s a new year. And with it, expect many new things. Include new scams. The latest to have emerged appears to be this:
This scam involves getting your mobile one-time password (OTP). This OTP is usually used for bank transactions, and credit card payments. So, somehow, this scammer managed to get the credit card details of his victims. He just needs the OTP to scam some money from his victims.
That’s why that scammer will impersonate someone you know (e.g. a friend or an ex-colleague). That scammer will then send you a message on Facebook messenger. He will then ask for your mobile number, saying that he is entering a mobile contest and ask me to send him the code in an SMS which will be sent to your mobile. That SMS is actually the OTP.
So apparently a few people have already fallen for this scam. But not Siew Yian. Siew Yian was smart. She decided to ask some questions. If the person messaging her were indeed her ex-colleague, then that person would know the answers. But, unsurprisingly, the scammer decided to ignore those questions, and tried to emphasise how important that contest is to him. And the scammer threw in a big heart emoticon.
When that didn’t work, the scammer started to guilt trip Siew Yian:
“you make me very sad. I won’t call never (sic).”
Well… with such language and defensiveness, you can be certain that it’s a scam. And turns out, Siew Yian was right to be suspicious. Siew Yian called her ex-colleague and verified that it’s a fraud. Siew Yian’s ex-colleague has since reported to Facebook and deactivated account.
So, next time someone who hasn’t really kept in touch with you suddenly messages you and asks for some code, or money, or anything, be suspicious. You don’t need to be rude. Just be like Siew Yian. Ask a few simple questions to verify the identity of that person who messaged you. If that person is indeed who he/she claims to be, that person should be able to answer those questions easily. Better yet, call that person if you can. It’s definitely a bit harder to impersonate a full voice conversation.
(Cover image via)