Nearly 40 people under probe after victims lose S$1.8mil to fake buyers on Carousell, Facebook


Scammers would pose as buyers and approach victims by messaging them on Carousell or Facebook. - ILLUSTRATION: REUTERS

SINGAPORE: Nearly 40 people, aged between 17 and 68, are being investigated for their suspected involvement in the recent spate of phishing scams involving fake buyers on Carousell and Facebook.

Since January 2024, at least 419 victims have lost at least S$1.8 million to such scams, the police said in a statement on Feb 21.

Nine women and 29 men were rounded up by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions during an anti-scam enforcement operation between Feb 13 and 19.

The scammers had posed as buyers and approached victims by messaging them on Carousell or Facebook, pretending to be interested in the items that the victims listed for sale.

When the victims agreed to sell the items, they received a malicious URL link or QR code via e-mail, a direct message in the apps or on WhatsApp on the pretext of receiving payment.

When victims clicked on the link or scanned the QR code, they were directed to a spoofed website that duped them into entering their Internet banking login credentials, credit card details or their one-time password.

The victims realised that they had been scammed only when they discovered unauthorised transactions made from their bank accounts or cards.

The police said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects had facilitated the scams in several ways.

Most of them opened new bank accounts and handed them to the scammers, or sold them for up to $1,500 per account, or gave up their Singpass credentials for as much as $1,000 per set.

But the suspects eventually did not receive the promised payment from the scammers.

One suspect had helped the scammers by receiving and transferring money for them.

Several had given away their banking credentials or Singpass credentials when they applied for fake investment schemes, jobs or loan schemes to purportedly receive earnings from their investment, salary or loan.

The public can protect themselves from scams by downloading the ScamShield app and setting up two-factor or multi-factor authentication for online banking services.

The police have urged people to avoid clicking on dubious links.

If in doubt, people should verify the information with the e-commerce platform.

The public should also report any fraudulent transactions and suspicious users to banks and e-commerce platforms immediately.

For more information on scams, visit the scamalert.sg website or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

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Singapore , fake , buyers , Carousell , Facebook

   

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