February 24, 2024

SINGAPORE – At least five people have lost $167,000 since September 2023 through fraudulent advertisements on Facebook or Instagram, police said.

In many cases involving such scams, victims click on advertisements on the social media sites promoting the sale of Chinese New Year goodies.

They are then redirected to WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram messaging platforms to communicate with the “sellers”, who direct them to download an Android Package Kit (APK) through malicious links to place orders for the food items, the police said in a statement on Jan 17.

Through the downloaded APK file, scammers are able to access victims’ devices remotely to steal banking credentials and passwords and carry out unauthorised transactions from the victims’ banking accounts.

The police advised the public to take precautionary measures.

The public can apply the ACT acronym, which outlines these steps to take: Add security features, Check for signs of a scam, and Tell the authorities and others about scams.

They can also download the ScamShield application to protect themselves from scam calls and SMSes, disable “Install Unknown App” or “Unknown Sources” in their phone settings, and not grant permission to persistent pop-ups that request access to the device’s hardware or data.

For more information on scams, the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688. To report scam-related information, call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit details online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness with the assurance of confidentiality.

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