Fake 'WhatsApp Web' pages scam RM2mil from people in S'pore this month

Scammers will first gain control of WhatsApp accounts after users click unverified URLs or scan spoof QR codes while searching for the WhatsApp Web webpage. — The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): At least 237 people have fallen for a phishing scam involving fake ‘WhatsApp Web’ pages since November, with total losses amounting to S$606,000 (RM2mil), the police said in a statement on Monday (Nov 13).

In these cases, scammers first gain control of compromised WhatsApp accounts after users click on unverified URL links while searching for the official WhatsApp Web webpage.

Impersonating the original account user, scammers then reach out to the user’s family or friends listed on the account’s contact list asking for loans.

Scammers typically claim that they urgently need the money for themselves, to pay for purchases or to help a friend or relative in financial distress.

For example, scammers may claim that they need to pay for medical emergencies but that their bank accounts have been restricted due to having exceeded transfer limits.

Some scammers may also ask the contacts to provide a screenshot showing the transfer to request more money later.

Original account users were subsequently asked to transfer money to unfamiliar bank accounts or PayNow numbers, supposedly belonging to their family or friends.

“Victims would realise they had been scammed after contacting or being contacted by their family or friends who claim not to have received any monies,” police said.

The police advised members of the public to adopt security measures such as enabling WhatsApp’s two-step verification feature, ensuring they are only using WhatsApp Web’s official website and to be wary of any unusual requests received on the messaging platform.

One should also refrain from sharing WhatsApp account verification codes and check linked devices on WhatsApp regularly, the police added.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688.

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Singapore , scam , WhatsApp , crime


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