Nowadays, many Singaporeans are on high alert against scams, especially after a highly publicised spate of banking scams.
But there seem to be so many increasingly sophisticated scams out there that one has to be sharp to avoid being a victim.
A Singapore woman recently sounded the alert on an alleged scam attempt, where she was told that her photos were being shared online.
She eventually made a police report.
The 22-year-old woman was identified by The Straits Times (ST) as Glennice Tong.
She shared her experience in a TikTok video on 27 Jan, saying she was doing this to warn other girls about this alleged scam so they won’t fall for it.
After all, she said it was “pretty convincing”, and she gave the alleged scammer 9.5 out of 10 in “lying skills”.
How it happened was Ms Tong received a message on Instagram out of the blue from a woman with an account without a profile photo.
Seemingly trying to help her, the mystery user made a “terrifying” assertion—a private Telegram group was sharing her “pics and stuff”.
Among the things allegedly shared were screenshots of chats between her and a guy about “sex and stuff”, as well as her personal details.
The mysterious person also compared the private group to SG Nasi Lemak – an infamous group that gained attention in 2019 for allegedly sharing obscene material of women.
4 of its group members were arrested for the offence.
Thankfully, Ms Tong was wary from the outset due to a few reasons.
Firstly, a friend had said in her Instagram Story that she’d encountered something similar.
Secondly, she said she’s not “chatting about such things with different people”.
Lastly, the user claimed she wasn’t sure whether the group was on Telegram or WhatsApp.
To that, a disbelieving Ms Tong questioned how she couldn’t differentiate between the 2 messaging apps considering they have very different interfaces.
Anyway, the clincher was when the woman sent a link to the supposed private group, urging Ms Tong to go in so she could report it.
The link looked quite suspicious, to put it mildly. She told ST that she knew it was a scam from that point.
She was told the link would redirect her to an external webpage where she would have to log in using her phone number as email and password.
She would then get an SMS code, which she’d have to input into the site, along with her phone number, when she logs in again.
Ms Tong questioned why an external site was needed, to which the woman answered that it would be “more discreet”.
Playing along, Ms Tong typed in “123” as her phone number.
However, she was confronted by a strange website – and the woman seemed to imply that she knew she’d used a fake number.
Incredulous, Ms Tong said she could’ve at least tried to be discreet that she knew about the fake number.
She then used a random property agent’s number, and the website appeared again, prompting her to key in her phone number and the code sent.
Anyway, the alleged scammer advised her to try again, claiming she had already reported the group herself.
Eventually, Ms Tong made a police report about the strange messages.
She also urged other girls who encountered this alleged scam to make a police report too, adding that it’ll be quite fast, and the officers who called her were nice about it.
Addressing the alleged scammers, she said, “Please don’t scam girls already”.
It’s frustrating for them to fear that their photos are out there, as well as worrying about phishing too, she added.
Ms Tong also advised girls to be smart and share sensitive stuff only with trusted people.
Given the proliferation of scams, it’s not surprising that women are now being targeted in this way.
After all, preying on people’s deepest fears has always been the modus operandi of scammers.
While we can’t prevent ourselves from being targeted, we can refuse to fall victim by being smart and questioning what potential scammers tell us.
Unfortunately, until a day comes when all scams are eradicated, we’ll have to remain vigilant.
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Featured images adapted from @g1ennice on TikTok.
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