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At least 498 people lost a total of at least $25.5 million to investment scams since last month.
Some were contacted through apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Coffee Meets Bagel and Tantan.
Scammers would build rapport with victims over time to gain their trust before introducing “investment opportunities”. By then, victims were inclined to believe scammers and follow their instructions in conducting transactions under the pretext of their “investments”.
Victims would generally receive small profits initially and believe their “investments” were genuine.
They would also be deceived by scammers’ use of “investment” websites or applications to display their “profits” and be convinced to invest larger and larger sums.
Victims would only realise they had been scammed when they could not withdraw their “profits” or could no longer contact the scammers.
Other scam victims searched online for investment opportunities or came across investment advertisements on social media platforms.
After clicking the advertisement links, they were led to messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Telegram to contact the scammers.
These scammers target victims who respond to their outreach and lure them to “invest in opportunities” with high returns in a short time. These claims are often accompanied by fraudulent testimonies.
Sometimes, after clicking on advertisement links, victims were redirected to “investment” website and prompted to provide their personal particulars, such as contact details and card details to register for an account.
Likewise, victims would only realise they had been scammed when they could not withdraw their “profits” or could no longer contact the scammers.
In some of these cases, victims would receive phone calls or messages from scammers posing as staff from investment companies or brokers.
After expressing their interest in investing, victims would be instructed by scammers to download remote access software such as AnyDesk onto their digital devices to receive guidance on “investment” processes.
Once the remote access software is installed, scammers can remotely access victims’ digital devices, such as computers or mobile phones and withdraw money from the victims’ bank accounts.
If you have any information relating to such crimes or are in doubt, please 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.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688.