Rise In Scams Involving Cash Giveaways, Police Say Beware Of Unusual Requests

Cash scams are now a dime a dozen in today’s social media-saturated society. They’ve evolved from the classic Nigerian prince scam to become actually convincing, so much so that more people are falling for them now than ever before.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has highlighted this in a Facebook post, reminding people to be especially careful now, as some scams have posed as Covid-19 payouts, confusing many.

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Social media cash scams now posing as Covid-19 payout

In the post, the police mentioned that have been at least 13 reports lodged on such cash scams since Dec 2019.

They were spread over social media, particularly Facebook.

Worse still, the scammers have made use of recent support measures announced by the Government to trick victims into thinking that they were representing the Government in giving them out.

Scammers asked for victims’ bank account details, OTP

According to a screenshot of one such scam shared by the police, it claimed to be cash payouts from the government, and allegedly offered $500 to each person for up to 30 people, with a total of $15,000 being disbursed.

Victims were led to believe that they would receive the funds immediately.

When contacted the scammers would ask for the victim’s bank account details and One-Time Password (OTP), which they would then use to transfer money into their own accounts.

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Beware of social media cash scams

Lots of news and content we consume comes from social media, but not all of it is credible or trustworthy.

With the influx of Covid-19 news and budget updates, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and confused about what’s legitimate and what isn’t.

That said, it’s important to cross-check information with reliable sources to make sure you’re not getting scammed.

Suggestions from the police

Here’s what the SPF suggested:

  • Be wary of shady offers and requests from strangers that sound too good to be true.
  • Confirm the legitimacy of messages with official government sources, like gov.sg.
  • Never share your personal information, bank account details or OTP, even with family or close friends.

If you’re a victim of scams, please seek assistance from the police at their hotline at 1800-255-0000. If you need help urgently, call 999.

You can submit any information you have have about scams on SPF’s website too.

Alternatively, you can call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 for advice, or visit the Scam Alert website for more information.

Protect yourself during these uncertain times

Do remember to protect yourself from scams, especially during these uncertain times.

When the public is roiled by the threat of virus and disheartened by social distancing measures, opportunists are taking advantage of the chaos to hoodwink the vulnerable.

So don’t give them a chance to succeed in their evil quest.

Featured image adapted from Unsplash and Facebook