The Police would like to alert the public of cases where scammers befriended victims and deceived them into making payments in order to receive the purported gifts, or deceived victims into providing financial assistance. Since January 2022, at least 384 victims have fallen prey, with losses amounting to at least $15 million.
In these scams, victims would typically befriend scammers on social media platforms or vice versa, and would develop relationships with them. In most cases, the scammers would purportedly claim to have sent valuable gifts to the victims. Thereafter, the victims would receive calls purportedly from delivery couriers, informing them that the parcels were detained by the authorities. The scammers would request for the victims to make online payment to third party bank accounts in order to secure the release of the items.
In another variant, scammers would request the victims to provide financial assistance by purchasing gift cards and sharing the activation codes with the scammers or by transferring the money to third party bank accounts.
Victims would eventually realise that they have been scammed when they contacted Singapore Customs to enquire about the delivery charges or when they felt suspicious about the encounter and decided to enquire with the Police.
To avoid falling for these scams, the Police would like to advise the members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures:
- Exercise caution when befriending strangers online.
- Never send money to people whom you do not know or have not met in person before.
- Do not provide the gift cards activation codes to people whom you do not know or have not met in person before.
- When in doubt, always verify the details of the call with the relevant government agencies.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
19 May 2022 @ 11:40 PM