Scammers impersonating friends cheated victims of over $2.2 million in first 5 months of 2020

The police have received at least 1,000 reports of social media impersonation scams amounting to more than $2.2 million over the first five months of 2020.

The police said in an advisory that in the majority of these cases, victims were tricked into disclosing their credit card information and One-Time Password (OTP) to scammers.

"Scammers would often use compromised or spoofed social media accounts to impersonate as the victims’ friends or followers on Facebook or Instagram," the police said.

"They would usually ask the victims for their personal details such as mobile number, internet banking account details, and OTP on the pretext of helping them to sign up for fake contests or promotions on Lazada or Shopee.

"Victims would later discover that unauthorised fraudulent transactions had been made from their bank accounts and mobile wallets without their consent.

"These fraudulent transactions often occurred on online platforms selling game credits that could be used on a variety of online games."

Members of the public are advised to adopt the following crime prevention measures:

  1. Be wary of unexpected requests or offers from social media contacts, especially those related to lucky draws or contests.

  2. Verify whether the account is legitimate by checking with your family and friends offline.

  3. Never give out your personal or bank account details, and OTP to anyone, including family and friends.

  4. For more information on scams, members of the public can visit or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at

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