SINGAPORE: In an era when vigilance against scams is paramount, a recent incident involving QR codes has raised eyebrows.
Reports of individuals falling victim to scammers after scanning QR codes have become alarmingly frequent, leading to increased caution among the public.
The latest case involves a letter from the Housing & Development Board (HDB), which contained three QR codes.
The letter stated, “We note that your vehicle was parked in HDB car parks, and we have not received the payment for the parking fees incurred. Please scan the e-Payment QR code on the right to view the list of transactions with outstanding parking fees.”
The outstanding amount was 56 cents.
A concerned individual, known as Stomper Mike, shared a letter on the Singaporean media platform Stomp, warning others about a potential new scam.
He urged people to exercise caution and not randomly scan QR codes.
HDB clarifies letter is not a scam
However, in response to these concerns, HDB clarified the situation on its Facebook page late Monday night (Sep 11).
The housing authority stated, “We are aware of a post on social media which claimed that a letter informing a driver of unpaid parking charges, is a scam.”
HDB went on to explain that the letter was legitimately sent to motorists who had left an HDB barrier-free car park before the system could deduct their parking fees from their cash card.
“This letter was sent to motorists who had driven out of a barrier free Parking@HDB carpark before the system could deduct their parking fees from the cash card. The letter would reflect the motorist’s name, address and vehicle number,” it said.
In their Facebook post, HDB mentioned that recipients of the letter were advised to utilize the QR code for access to HDB’s Parking Fees Payment e-Service.
This platform allowed them to review and confirm any outstanding parking fees and then make the necessary payments.
Alternatively, the process could also be completed via HDB’s e-Service, accessible through the go.gov.sg link.
Netizen confused by HDB’s vague reply
Despite the response and clarification given by HDB on their Facebook page, certain online users remain uncertain about whether the letter was intended as a scam.
They believe that HDB’s earlier reply was too ambiguous, as it neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of a scam.
Several users are seeking clarification because they find HDB’s response to the scam letter issue perplexing.
One user conveyed his confusion, stating, “the way you stated on the first paragraph means it is a scam, but the subsequent paragraphs sounds like it is not!”
He added, “Your response is causing confusion among the public!” and urged HDB to provide a clearer statement.
Another individual shares a similar perspective, requesting HDB to issue a more straightforward statement.
They point out that some people may skim through the content, and the phrase “…, is a scam,” could be the only part they notice.
“Perhaps can be better communicated, just a suggestion,” the user said.
In the meantime, a user expressed their viewpoint, questioning the necessity of the new HDB App.
They raised concerns about the expansion of the system to include car IU recognition for cash card payments at barrier entry points.
In a similar vein, earlier this year, insurance company AIA reassured the public that a flyer requiring the scanning of a QR code to redeem a free blood pressure measuring device was not a scam.
This serves as a reminder that not all QR code requests are malicious, but careful scrutiny is always advised.