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Police Advisory On Malware Spread Through Fraudulent Postings Involving The Sale Of Second-Hand Goods

The Police have observed an emergence of malware scams involving the sale of second-hand goods on fraudulent advertisements posted on Facebook. In September 2023, at least 21 victims have fallen prey, with total losses amounting to at least $210,000. Members of the public are advised to be wary of fraudulent advertisements, especially when purchasing or selling items/services on Facebook.

In these cases, victims would respond to Facebook advertisements from scammers purportedly looking to buy second-hand goods such as clothes, electronics, furniture, etc. by contacting the scammers via the social messaging platforms to enquire about the process. The scammers would then direct victims to communicate on WhatsApp. When both parties came to an agreement on the prices for the second-hand goods to be sold, the victims would be directed to download an Android Package Kit (APK) over WhatsApp or directed to malicious links to download the APK to post pictures of the items they wish to sell, or to receive deposit payment and invoice. The APK is an application (app) created for Android’s operating system, that contains malware. After downloading and installing the APK file (which includes granting the app accessibility services), the scammers will be able to access the victim’s device remotely to steal the victim’s bank credentials and passwords. Subsequently, victims discovered unauthorised transactions from their banking accounts.

The Police would like to remind members of the public of the danger of downloading apps from third-party or dubious sites. Members of the public are advised to adopt the following precautionary measures:

  1. ADD – ScamShield to protect yourselves from scam calls and SMSes. Add anti-virus applications and ensure that these apps are updated to scan for the latest malware. Ensure that your devices’ operating systems and applications are updated regularly to be protected by the latest security patches. Please refer to Annex B for the list of recommended anti-virus apps. Disable “Install Unknown App” or “Unknown Sources” in your phone settings and do not grant permission to persistent pop-ups that request for access to your device’s hardware or data.

  2. CHECK - For scam signs with official sources (e.g. ScamShield WhatsApp bot @, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visit Only download and install applications from official app stores (i.e., Google Play Store for Android). Be wary if asked to download unknown apps in order to purchase/sell items on Facebook. Check the developer information on the app listing as well as the number of downloads and user reviews to ensure it is reputable and legitimate.

  3. TELL - Authorities, family, and friends about scams. Report the suspicious content or advertisement to Facebook. Initiate in-app blocking by reporting the number linked to the advertisement to WhatsApp. Lastly, report any unauthorised transactions to your bank immediately.

If you have already downloaded and installed the app (which includes granting the app accessibility services) or suspect that your phone is infected with malware, please take the following steps:

Turn your phone to “flight mode”. Check that Wi-Fi is switched off and do not switch it on.

  1. Turn your phone to “flight mode”. Check that Wi-Fi is switched off and do not switch it on.

  2. Run an anti-virus scan on your phone.

  3. Check your bank account/Singpass/CPF etc for any unauthorised transaction(s) using other device(s).

  4. If there are unauthorised transaction(s), report to the bank, relevant authorities, and lodge a Police report.

  5. After completing steps a-c, if you believe that your phone has not been infected with malware, you may resume usage of your phone. As a further precaution, you may consider doing a “factory reset” of your phone and changing important passwords.

If you have any information relating to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Fighting scams is a community effort. Together, we can ACT Against Scams to safeguard our community!

Annex A

Screenshots of the fraudulent Facebook advertisement 
Annex B

List of recommended anti-virus apps 



10 October 2023 @ 10:15 AM
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