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The police would like to alert the public to scams regarding the resurgence of fraudulent purchases charged to mobile phone bills.
Reports made by multiple victims informed that they had incurred charges to their mobile phone bills after providing a three-digit PIN number to strangers whom they had befriended over Facebook.
There was a 120% increase in such cases between January and November 2017, with the police receiving 130 such cases.
The total amount cheated to date in 2017 is at least $16,000 and these cases continue to be reported in December.
In most of these cases, the scammers would first initiate contact with the victims by sending them friend requests via Facebook, sometimes even creating Facebook accounts that closely resemble that of the victims’ friends.
They would then proceed to ask for the victims’ mobile phone numbers and mobile service providers.
Subsequently, the scammers made online purchases of gaming credits or online gift cards using the victims’ mobile phone numbers.
The purchases were charged to the victims’ mobile phone bills after the victims provided their One Time Passwords (OTP) or Verification Codes to the scammers.
The victims only found out that they had fallen prey to the scam upon receiving their mobile phone bills.
Here are some precautions you can take to protect yourself:
a) Do not share your personal information including OTP/Verification codes with anyone. Such information is useful to scammers and could potentially be used for purchases charged to your mobile phone bills.
b) Be wary of friend requests from strangers on social networking sites. They may not be who they claim to be.
c) If you receive a friend request from a friend on social networking sites, verify with your friend via another means of communication before accepting the request.
d) Report any fraudulent charges detected on your mobile phone bill to your mobile service provider immediately.
e) If in doubt, please call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.