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SPF: At least 419 victims lost S$1.8M to fake buyer phishing scams since January

The Singapore Police Force reveals over 419 victims lost S$1.8m to fake buyer phishing scams since January. Currently, 38 individuals, aged 17 to 68, are under investigation for their alleged role in these scams on platforms like Facebook and Carousell.



SINGAPORE: Singapore Police Force (SPF) has announced that 38 individuals, ranging from 17 to 68 years old, are currently being investigated for their suspected involvement in a series of “fake buyer” phishing scams on popular platforms such as Facebook and Carousell.

This announcement was made on Wednesday (21 Feb) through an official press release.

According to SPF, these scams, which began in January 2024, have affected a minimum of 419 victims, resulting in collective losses of at least S$1.8 million.

The enforcement operation, aimed at combating these fraudulent activities, was carried out between 13 February 2024 and 19 February 2024.

SPF revealed the modus operandi of the scammers involves impersonating legitimate buyers on Carousell and Facebook.

They would initiate contact with sellers through in-app messages, expressing interest in the items listed for sale.

Upon reaching an agreement, victims would then receive a suspicious URL link or QR code via email, in-app messaging, or WhatsApp, under the guise of facilitating payment.

Once these links or codes were clicked or scanned, victims were redirected to fake websites where they were prompted to enter sensitive information such as internet banking login details, credit card information, and One-Time Passwords (OTPs).

It was only after discovering unauthorized transactions from their accounts that victims realized they had fallen victim to a scam.

During the recent operation, authorities from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and seven Police Land Divisions apprehended the 38 individuals for further investigation.

Preliminary investigations indicate that these individuals were engaged in various facets of the fraudulent activities.

Many of them established new bank accounts and then handed control of these accounts to the scammers, either selling the accounts for up to S$1,500 each or providing their Singpass credentials for as much as S$1,000 per set.

However, despite their involvement, these individuals often did not receive the promised compensation from the scammers.

Additionally, one individual was found to have facilitated the receipt and transfer of money on behalf of the scammers.

Furthermore, some suspects disclosed their banking credentials or Singpass details in the context of phony investment schemes, job scams, or loan offers, believing they would gain earnings from investments, salaries, or loans.

The police urge the public to take precautionary steps, including refraining from sharing personal or internet banking details and One-Time Passwords (OTPs) with anyone.

SPF recommends downloading the ScamShield app, activating security features provided by banks, and setting transaction limits for online banking, including services like PayNow/PayLah.

It is important to be vigilant for signs of scams and to verify information from official sources such as or by contacting the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688.

Singapore sees 50% surge in 2023 scams

Singapore saw a significant surge in scam cases in 2023, with reported incidents reaching more than 46,000, marking an eight-year climb in scam figures, according to data released by SPF earlier.

The total number of cases increased by 46.8%, rising from 31,728 in 2022 to 46,563 in 2023, marking the highest recorded figure since the initiation of scam tracking by the police in 2016.

Despite the alarming increase in the number of cases, SPF reported that there was a slight decrease of 1.3% in the total amount of money lost by victims, which amounted to S$651.8 million, a contrast from the preceding five years.

The police highlighted that job scams ranked as the top type of scams, followed closely by e-commerce scams, fake friend call scams, phishing scams, and investment scams.

Increases in scam figures in recent times have distorted the overall crime assessment. Additionally, the total count of scam and cybercrime cases surged by 49.6%, reaching 50,376 cases in 2023, up from 33,669 cases reported in 2022.

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Why not hold Facebook and Carousell responsible for advertisements leading to scams? They have the technology to be able to block off these adverts as they block of certain accounts during elections in certain countries. So they can do the same here or should be fined for failure to prevent fraud and scams. JT stop using POFMA and get down to do some real work of stopping these scams.

So far ………….

Any jail .

Money raided from reserves used for to give 100s of Millions of Dollars of free Scholarships (with GUARANTEE JOBS, salaries, as they need to serve bonds, not working for free) to Foreign TRASH and instead of own sons and daughters, instead of invest in own pple’s future, instead of assisting the poorer SG, instead of assisting to eliminate carton box pickers from the streets toiling under the sun and rain, giving them a decent living, instead of investing in Digital Skills of vast no. of SG (instead of toilet cleaning courses) – at least reduce risk of scams when SG… Read more »

These scams don’t look that complex nor highly sophisticated. The opposite is the victims appears to act ‘sophisticated’ bcz the pattern of convincing by the actors made the whole process genuine which must have strung the victims brains into believing that’s how they are brought up to think and believe things work that way in SG, nothing suspicious as they were educated.