March 29, 2023
SINGAPORE – At least 1,013 people have lost no less than $17.6 million this year, after falling prey to job scams in which they were given commission for completing simple surveys before being offered fake jobs by scammers.
The police warned on Wednesday of this job scam variant where victims would receive unsolicited WhatsApp or Telegram messages asking them to participate in a survey or market research, and to answer a few questions.
The questions were usually about food delivery platforms, tourism, or events and festivals.
When the victims completed the surveys, they would receive a small commission.
“After victims were convinced that they could earn commission, scammers would provide another WhatsApp or Telegram contact to the victims, suggesting that the victims could reach out to the contact for more rewarding jobs,” the police said.
The scammers would then ask the victims to help “boost” the value of cryptocurrencies or rate mobile applications to improve their rankings on app stores.
The victims were instructed to create accounts on scam sites to perform these tasks, and transfer money to bank accounts provided by the scammers.
“Victims would realise that they had been scammed when they failed to withdraw their commission or when the scammers could no longer be contacted,” the police said.
On Monday, The Straits Times reported on a similar ruse where scammers, posing as real property agents, were paying social media users to post fake rental listings for them on sites like Facebook and Carousell.
A scammer allegedly paid the users $50 each to share the listings on their real accounts so that the advertisements would appear legitimate.
A 22-year-old student said she was tricked into doing so when she came across a job listing on Carousell for a “digital marketing executive”.
The police advise the public to download the ScamShield app and set security features including enabling two-factor authentication for their bank, social media and Singpass accounts.
Limits on Internet banking transactions, such as those via PayNow, should also be set.
Members of the public should check for signs of a scam through official sources, such as www.scamalert.sg or the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.
“Do not accept dubious job offers that offer lucrative returns for minimal effort,” the police said.
Those with information related to such crimes can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness