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Over 50 victims in Singapore lose S$18,000 to Telegram scammers this year since January

Singaporean authorities have issued a warning about a new Telegram scam affecting over 50 people, resulting in losses of S$18,000. Scammers gain access to victims’ accounts, extort money, and use sensitive content.



SINGAPORE: Singaporean authorities issued a warning about a new social media impersonation scam involving the messaging application Telegram.

This variant has affected at least 50 people since January, resulting in losses of at least S$18,000 (US$13,300).

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) jointly issued the alert on 31 Aug.

In this scam, fraudsters gain control of victims’ Telegram accounts by deceiving them into providing their phone numbers and Telegram-generated login codes.

How the scam works

The scam presents itself in various ways, often involving compromised accounts of the victim’s acquaintances.

In some instances, victims find themselves added to covert Telegram chats by scammers posing as friends or known contacts.

Subsequently, these victims are requested to supply a screenshot of their Telegram chat history.

This screenshot inadvertently exposes a Telegram-generated login code.

This is because the scammers simultaneously activate a Telegram login code for the victim’s account, unbeknownst to them.

Another scenario involves victims being asked to assist in locating a Telegram user by searching for specific usernames in their chat history.

Photo: SPF, CSA

Invariably, the resulting screenshot includes a Telegram login code.

Another approach employed by scammers involves convincing victims to assist in verifying or unblocking a restricted Telegram account of one of their contacts.

Photo: SPF, CSA

In this scenario, victims are instructed to send a request to a Telegram handle that pretends to be a customer service bot.

Subsequently, the bot may either request the victims’ personal information and their Telegram login codes or send deceptive URL links disguised as verification buttons, purportedly enabling their “friend” to access the victim’s Telegram account.

In addition, scammers may request victims to aid in securing a free Telegram membership.

Victims are misled into participating by clicking on a link that grants scammers access to their accounts, ultimately resulting in victims losing control of their Telegram accounts.

Then, the scammers will proceed to target the victims’ contacts once they gain control of the Telegram accounts.

They employ the same tactics to seize control of these contacts’ Telegram accounts or demand money to perpetuate the scheme.

According to the authorities, the victims only realise they have been scammed when they discover their Telegram account is no longer under their control or when the loan is not repaid.

In some instances, scammers gain access to sensitive content, such as photographs and videos, within victims’ Telegram chats.

This information is then leveraged for extortion from both the victims and their contacts.

To safeguard against falling victim to such scams, the authorities recommend the following precautionary measures:

Install the ScamShield App and enable security features like two-factor or multi-factor authentication for their bank, social media, and Singpass accounts.

The public should implement transaction limits for Internet banking, including PayNow.

Next, promptly report any fraudulent transactions to their bank.

The public should also block and report suspicious senders on Telegram.

If their account has been compromised, report it to Telegram support and inform their family and friends to prevent them from becoming targets of impersonation by scammers.

Additionally, report incidents involving Telegram account takeovers to SingCERT via the online incident reporting form.

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