S$6.5mil lost to job scams in first half of 2021

One variant of the job scams involves fake mobile applications. - SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): More people are falling for job scams, with victims losing at least S$6.5 million in the first six months of this year.

The biggest amount lost in a single case was $676,000, police said in a statement on Monday (Sept 20).

There are two variants of the job scams. One involves fake mobile applications and the other relates to purported warning letters sent via WhatsApp.

In the first scenario, police said victims are first told to download an app that will lead to jobs. However, before they can use the app, they must first top up funds.

To do so, victims have to transfer money to a specified bank account, or convert the amount into cryptocurrency and then transfer the sum into digital wallets specified by the scammers.

Police said that in this scam, victims were promised a commission after a certain number of tasks have been completed.

To make it more believable, the amount the victims transferred was reflected in their digital wallets.

The victims were also told that commission earned from jobs will be banked into the same digital wallets.

"However, the victims then realised that they have been scammed when they were unable to withdraw the money from these accounts," said police.

In the WhatsApp scam, victims received fake warning letters telling them to pay a severance fee if they no longer wished to continue with jobs the scammers had arranged.

The victims were warned that their accounts on the app would be frozen, preventing them from withdrawing their commission, and that legal action could be taken against them if they were to discontinue with the "job".

Police said the warning letters carried emblems of legitimacy to enhance their credibility, such as those that identify the Singapore Police Force and the Supreme Court.

"Victims would eventually realise that they have been scammed when they do not receive their commission after completing the tasks given to them by the scammers," the statement said.

Police did not provide details of the jobs or tasks, but warned of red flags: jobs that offer commissions that are too good to be true; unsolicited messages from dubious numbers; and requests to transfer money into specified bank accounts or cryptocurrency wallets.

For more information on current scams in Singapore, check this website or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.

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