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19 Persons Investigated For Suspected Involvement In Social Media Impersonation Scams Involving Whatsapp

A total of 13 men and six women, aged between 16 and 50, are under investigation for their suspected involvement in the recent variant of impersonation scam which involved scammers using compromised WhatsApp accounts obtained through the use of fake “Whatsapp Web” phishing website to impersonate WhatsApp users, and subsequently to scam the said users’ family or friends, following an island-wide anti-scam enforcement operation conducted between 15 and 24 November 2023. 

During the operation, officers from the Commercial Affairs Department, seven Police Land Divisions and Police Intelligence Department rounded the 19 persons through simultaneous island-wide operations. Preliminary investigations revealed that the 19 persons had allegedly facilitated the scam cases by relinquishing their bank accounts, Internet banking credentials and/or disclosing Singpass credentials, either for monetary gains between $200 and $3,400 or for loans which they did not eventually receive.

Since November 2023, at least 237 victims have fallen prey to social media impersonation scams in general, with total losses amounting to at least $606,000. Specific to this variant, at least 93 victims have fallen prey to this variant, with total losses amounting to at least $176,000. In these cases, scammers would use compromised WhatsApp accounts belonging to the victims to reach out to their family members, friends or associates in the contact lists. The scammers would impersonate the victims whose Whatsapp accounts were compromised and give various reasons to get victims to loan them monies. Scammers typically claim that the monies are needed urgently for themselves or needed to pay for purchases or to help a friend/relative in need e.g. medical emergencies under the pretext that their bank accounts have been restricted in some form (e.g. exceeded transfer limits) and may request victims to provide a screenshot showing the transfer to request for more monies. Victims would then be asked to transfer money to unfamiliar bank accounts or PayNow numbers, supposedly belonging to the WhatsApp users’ family, friends or associates. Victims would realise they had been scammed after contacting or being contacted by their family/friends who claim to not have received any monies.

Police investigations are ongoing. The offence of acquiring benefits from criminal conduct under Section 54(5)(a) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act 1992 carries an imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both. The offence of cheating by deceiving banks into opening bank accounts that were not meant for one’s own use under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code 1871 carries an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine, or both. The offence of relinquishing one’s bank account login details under Section 3(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1993 carries an imprisonment term of up to two years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The offence of disclosing one’s Singpass credentials under Section 8 of the Computer Misuse Act 1993 carries an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The Police will spare no effort to track down cybercriminals responsible for perpetuating social media impersonation scams and will take tough enforcement actions against these perpetuators. To avoid being an accomplice in these crimes, members of the public should always reject seemingly attractive money-making opportunities promising fast and easy pay-outs for the use of their Singpass accounts, bank accounts, or for allowing their personal bank accounts to be used to receive and transfer money for others. The Police would like to remind members of the public that individuals will be held accountable if they are found to be linked to such crimes.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at All information will be kept strictly confidential.


26 November 2023 @ 3:30 PM
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