TL;DR – With the proliferation of scams these days, equip yourself with the knowledge of these four kinds of scam to avoid being the next victim.
Scammers are really getting more creative and despicable at the same time. In the first half of June 2022 alone, more than $71,000 were lost to scammers using new scam variants. Here’s four scam variants to you need to familiarize yourself with, to avoid falling into scams and losing your hard-earned savings.
1. Job Scams
As economies around the world recover and the tourism and hospitality industry picking up, scammers are tapping on this to scam prospective jobseekers.
For example, scammers are pretending to be travel agencies offering part-time or full-time employment with attractive pay of up to S$200 per day.
Travel agencies in Singapore have stepped forward to clarify that they will never send unsolicited text messages, WhatsApp messages to offer jobs. Also, they will never use overseas numbers to contact job applicants.
So, remember — correspondences are always done professionally and not entirely through text messages. Job vacancies are also usually only made through the newspapers, trusted inline platforms such as MyCareersFuture.sg or on LinkedIn.
2. Refund Scams
Since the start of June 2022, at least five victims have fallen for refund scams involving the impersonations of national water agency PUB and utilities supplier SP Group.
Its tactics involve using emails or text messages claiming that the victims have paid their bills twice and “PUB or SP” will be “offering refunds to them” if they click on the link that is provided.
Those links when clicked, will prompt them to login to fake Singpass sites or key in their credit/debit card details.
3. Bank Scams
Remember that earlier this year in 2022, there was a big scam fiasco involving OCBC Bank, where some customers’ entire live savings were wiped out?
Banking scams typically involve scammers asking, through phishing websites or links, for victims to enter their online-banking login credentials and one-time PIN (OTP) which enables scammers to easily take over bank accounts and make fraudulent transactions.
As a rule of thumb, remember — no one, absolutely no one will ask for your banking credentials. Only you know it, and even the bank will never ask for it.
4. Application-Installation Scams
This is a new type of phishing scam, where scammers convince victims to install malware on their phones to steal their banking credentials.
One such scam involved cleaning service advertisements which offered home Covid-19 disinfections at attractive prices made via social messaging platforms. Victims will be directed to download a dubious application and key in their credit/debit card details to “make payment”
Notably, individuals using Android phones are more susceptible to such scams as security and application vetting is much lax on the Google Play Store as compared to Apple’s AppStore. Nonetheless, iPhone users should remain alert of such scams.
Here’s what you can do
If you’ve noticed, a common point across these scams is that scammers always play on the pain-points of their victims — from rising costs of living to employment and livelihoods.
If you are in doubt or suspect that you have fallen for a scam, call the Police at 1800-255-000 or make an online report at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Also, block your card through the Bank’s App and report any fraudulent transactions immediately to improve the chances of retrieving your money back.
For the latest scam alerts and information, you can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam hotline at 1800-722-6688.
Always, always remain vigilant and exercise caution — it doesn’t hurt to double-check and verify the source. You may just be the next victim that scammers are targeting.