39 people under investigation after victims lose $1.8m to fake buyers on Facebook, Carousell

A total of 29 men and nine women, aged between 17 and 68, are under investigation for their suspected involvement in a recent spate of fake buyer phishing scams on Facebook and Carousell.

This comes after an anti-scam enforcement operation conducted between Feb 13 and Feb 19, the police said in a statement.

Since January, at least 419 victims have fallen prey to such scams, with total losses amounting to at least $1.8 million.

In these cases, scammers would pose as 'buyers' and approach victims via in-app messages on Carousell or Facebook.

They would express interest in the items victims had listed on their platforms.

After agreeing to the sale of the items, the victims would receive malicious URL links or QR codes via email, in-app messaging, or WhatsApp on the pretext of receiving payment.

Upon clicking the links or scanning the QR codes, the victims would be redirected to a spoofed website to provide their internet banking login credentials, credit card details and/or One-Time Passwords (OTPs).

They would realise they had been scammed after discovering unauthorised transactions made from the bank accounts or cards.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the 38 people who had been rounded up had allegedly facilitated the scams in several ways:

Most opened new bank accounts and relinquished them to the scammers, sold them for as much as $1,500 per account, or gave up their Singpass credentials for up to $1,000 each. They would fail to receive the promised fees from the scammers.

One person assisted scammers by receiving and transferring money on their behalf.

Some gave away their banking or Singpass credentials in the applications of fake investment schemes, job scams, or loan schemes, to purportedly receive earnings from investment, salary or loan.

Members of the public are advised to install the ScamShield App and set up two-factor or multi-factor authentication for online banking services.

Avoid clicking on dubious links and never disclose your personal or internet banking details and OTPs with anyone.

If in doubt, 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 at 1800-722-6688.

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