We are at the digital age.
Most services and products are now offered online for our convenience. Fraudsters are also going high tech. They never lose ideas on how they can get your hard earned money.
Protect yourself from scammer by knowing these newest scam schemes.
1. PayPal Scam
The Singapore Police Force had reported more than 40 reports of Paypal scams since January. Scammers post as interested buyers. They will contact an online seller who had posted items for sale or unit for rent online.
The sellers will receive fake e-mails in the name of PayPal or reputable banks saying that they have paid for certain items. The victims had to send proof of shipments before they can finally receive the payments.
Some victims are even asked to activate certain PayPal accounts for them to get the payment. The scam scheme may vary a bit, but all the victims never received any payments.
Singaporeans must log on to their PayPal accounts to verify any received payments. E-mails are easy to fabricate and pass up as genuine. It is best not to trust e-mails though the address seems legitimate.
If you receive a suspicious e-mail, call the customer service to verify if such a message was indeed sent to you.
With Paypal, you will usually get a request to login safely to your account first before providing any sensitive information.
2. ‘Microsoft’ tech support scam
Twenty incidences of ‘Microsoft’ tech support scams have been reported since the start of the year. Victims said that they received a pop-up message on their computer screens. The messages alerted that their computers were infected with a virus or their personal information have been leaked.
These messages have a toll-free telephone number. To make it more realistic, the messages also used company names such as Wetechconsultants, Microsoft or Apple. This had convinced victims to call the number to resolve the issue.
After calling, some victims are asked to download an application from a website. Some of them are also asked to enter certain commands in their computers. The scammers can then gain remote access to the victims’ computers. There are victims who were even told to purchase “anti-virus software” to fix the computer.
During the process, victims gave their personal info including their credit card details. The scammers made unauthorised transactions with the victim’s credit card details.
The police advised to ignore these types of messages and never call the suspected toll-free numbers. Never panic. Call the company’s official customer service hotline to confirm the message.
3. Fake Singapore Police Force Website
Scammers have called their victims to tell them that they are suspected to be involved in serious criminal activities. The crime involved large sums of money allegedly found in the victims’ bank accounts. The victims were given a link that closely resembles the Singapore Police Force website.
The scammers told the victims to follow the instructions on the web page. This involved providing personal details such as internet banking credentials.
Though the site seems genuine, it is a phishing site used to extract banking details. This had caused many to lose an extensive amount of money.
The Singapore Police Force clarified that the official SPF website is www.police.gov.sg. No government agency will ask you to transfer money to a third party’s bank account.
If you receive a suspicious call, ignore them even if it has a local number. Scammers have the ability to mask their numbers in the caller ID.
4. Free Air Tickets
Singapore Airlines warned their customers against fake contests, e-mails, and websites. These phony ads will ask the victims to reveal their personal data. It is best to verify the messages through Singapore Air Feedback Enquiry and other Singapore Airlines social media channels.
The scammers have created bogus social media accounts as well. Victims who shared their KrisFlyer login details on these phishing sites must immediately change their KrisFlyer PIN.
5. Fake Emails about Parking Fines
Scammers use fake e-mails to pose as Traffic Police. The e-mails strongly suggest that the victim must pay a parking ticket via credit card and appear in court. The message contains a website link and a phone number which the recipient has to contact. These contact details do not belong to the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
Once again, SPF had clarified that the government agencies will never ask for payments through unsecured ways. They also never involve a third party’s bank account when collecting fines.
The police advised the public to be cautious when responding to e-mails. Government agencies never send such e-mails to the public. Ignore suspicious emails, website links, and social media accounts. Be wary on where and whom you give out your personal information and bank details.
What to do if you receive such e-mails?
If you think that the e-mail you received is phony, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722 6688. You may also visit www.scamalert.sg to give a report. If you have more information about these scams call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000.
Online scams are not new to us. They may evolve in various schemes, but you can always avoid them. Protect yourself by being vigilant. Never share your personal financial information if you are unsure of the validity of the websites and e-mails.
No matter how legitimate it looks, never hesitate to give the concerned company a call or send an e-mail for verification. It is better to be safe than lose your hard earned money.
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