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Members of the public are advised to be wary of a persistent job scam, where scammers would entice victims by offering them fake job opportunities that involve purchasing tasks on online platforms.
At least 1,399 victims have fallen prey since May 2023, with losses amounting to at least $19.9 million, said the police in an advisory on Thursday (June 8).
In these scams, victims would receive job offers through unsolicited WhatsApp or Telegram messages, asking them to participate in simple surveys or if they interested in performing simple tasks such as 'boosting' ratings of product listings for online merchants.
They would be enticed by the rewards offered for the simple tasks and proceed to create accounts on fraudulent websites to earn more commissions.
After the victims successfully received their initial payment and commission, they would be asked to make payments for more tasks.
These tasks include boosting reviews on online merchants, where they are asked to give a good rating on a certain product listing and submit a screenshot of the review to the scammer through WhatsApp or Telegram.
Victims might also be sent URLs and instructed to order items online. They are then supposed to submit a screenshot of the orders to the scammer through WhatsApp or Telegram.
However, the victims would be told not to make any payments for the orders via the website’s payment modes. Instead, they are asked to make payments to bank accounts provided by the scammers in the WhatsApp or Telegram chats.
Scammers might also try to con victims into investing in cryptocurrency.
The police explained: "Victims would sign in to a cryptocurrency account to buy cryptocurrency in order to stimulate crypto market movement. They would only realise that they had been scammed when they were not unable to recover their subsequent high value payments for tasks."
Members of the public are advised to adopt the following precautionary measures:
ADD - ScamShield App and set security features (e.g. enable two-factor (2FA) or multifactor authentication for banks, social media, Singpass accounts; set transaction limits on internet banking transactions, including PayNow). Do not send money to anyone who you do not know or have not met in person before.
CHECK - for scam signs and with official sources (e.g. visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688). Do not accept dubious job offers that offer lucrative returns for minimal effort.
TELL - authorities, family, and friends about scams. Report the scammers to WhatsApp and Telegram.
If you have any information relating to such crimes or are in doubt, call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
If you require urgent police assistance, please dial '999'.