These are the top 4 scams of concern in Singapore for the first half of 2020

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Did you know that more than S$21.2 million was recovered by the police’s anti-scam centre in their first year of operations? The figure is about 41 per cent of the amount scammers attempted to cheat victims of in the cases handled by the centre, said the police on Jul 30 this year.

Today (Aug 26), we read from the news that the rise in scams contributed to the overall crime increase in the first half of 2020. To be exact, the total number of reported crimes went up to 18,121 cases in the first half of 2020, compared to 16,240 cases reported last year.

Here are the top 4 scams of concern:

#1: E-commerce scams
E-commerce scams

Image Credits: Medium

E-commerce scams top the list. Reported cases increased by 73.8 per cent from 1,202 in the first half of last year to 2,089 in 2020.

The total amount cheated increased to S$5.4 million, up from S$1 million in the same period last year. The largest sum cheated in a single case on an e-commerce marketplace is S$175,000.

Be extra vigilant when you’re transacting with electronic items, gaming-related items, face masks, and hand sanitizers since according to the authorities, these are the most common scam transactions.

#2: Social media impersonation scams
Social media impersonation scams

Image Credits: The Straits Times

The number of social media impersonation scam cases jumped by more than 1,300 per cent, from 83 cases in the first half of last year to 1,175 this year. It’s currently in second place of the top 4 scams of concern.

“Scammers would often claim to help their victims sign up for online contests or promotions which turned out to be fake. Their victims would later discover that unauthorised transactions had been made from their bank accounts or mobile wallets,” the police said.

Instagram and Facebook users should be on their guard since it’s the top two platforms that social media impersonation scams take place on.

#3: Loan scams
Loan scams

Image Credits: The Straits Times

Loan scams increased by 56 per cent to 1,014 cases, up from 650 in 2019. The total amount cheated is a cause for concern with an increase from S$1.9 million in the first half of 2019 to S$6.5 million this year.

“Business operators such as banks, digital platform owners and telcos have a responsibility to prevent, deter and detect crimes committed through their platforms,” said the authorities.

#4: Banking-related phishing scams
Banking-related phishing scams

Image Credits: CNA

Compared to 34 cases in the same period in 2019, the total number of banking-related phishing scams increased by more than 2,500 per cent in the first half of this year to 898 cases. The total amount cheated increased from S$93,000 to S$3.6 million.

“In the majority of these cases, victims were tricked into disclosing Internet banking usernames, personal identification numbers (PIN) and one-time passwords (OTPs) to scammers posing as bank staff,” said the police in a news release.

According to the authorities, criminals have been taking advantage of the pandemic to find their victims by exploiting the public’s fear and sense of uncertainty. This is evident from the significant increase in online scam cases reported in the first half of 2020.

If you require scam-related assistance, please call the anti-scam helpline at 1800 722 6688 or visit to seek advice.


Don’t Lose Your Fortune On These 4 Techniques That Fraud Artists Use


All these people share one mission: to use different techniques in order to acquire your hard-earned money. Here are some of the methods that you must watch out for:


Fraud artists employ diverse types of scams in order to get substantial amount of money or to get what they want. One of the most common type of scams is the “fake cheque or check”. Fake check occurs when the artist curates counterfeit checks that seem legitimate. From watermarks to routing numbers, these comprehensive checks can fool the novice eye easily!

Artists use these checks to deposit money to their temporary bank accounts or to pay for a company’s products or services. This is why you must be vigilant when accepting checks. The first step to ensure that the bank or the institution that issued the checks really exists.

Prevention: You do not want to fall prey to checks that are not genuinely from DBS. Is that watermark really pertain to the Development Bank of Singapore or is it from the institution called Doing Bountiful Scams?


Transacting or sending funds online can be convenient but, it can make you vulnerable. I am not completely discouraging online funds transfer or remittance services. Singapore is the most secure Asian country for data privacy after all. According to a recent survey by Artmotion, our nation received a relatively low risk score of 1.9%. It was even ahead of other powerful nations such as USA and UK.

What I am telling you is that providing information for your online activities can put your identity and your wealth at risk.

Prevention: Avoid this by being cautious at all times. For instance, no financial institution will ask for your sensitive information directly thru email. Providing information for your online activities can put your identity and your wealth at risk. To avoid this, you must be informed and cautious at all times.


Whenever I am in urgent need of professional help at home (e.g., plumber, technician, or locksmith), I immediately search for the service numbers online. You cannot blame me! This is the most convenient and quickest method that most people utilize. Scammers noticed this trend and created a scam called the “fake customer service numbers”.

Believe it or not, some people can receive messages online without a handphone or fake the contact numbers itself. Fraud artists purchase contact numbers that are similar or close to the authentic customer service numbers used by several financial institutions.

They buy the advertisement slots on the top of the search engines in order for the fake number to appear first. It is a such a clever tactic, to say the least. Clients who are in a rush can get trapped by these familiar looking numbers. Imagine the impact if these clients divulge sensitive information such as their credit card details!

Prevention: Proceed to the official website and use the customer service hotlines that are displayed there. Or, you may use the numbers written at the back of your credit card.


What do Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat have in common? They are quite addicting and most Singaporeans are hooked the moment that they were released. So when a new update such as Instagram stories comes along, people are quick to tap the necessary buttons.

Fraud artists can send blast emails that target the said app’s users. Enclosed in this email is a link or a button that directs the users to the pseudo update. Everything looks legitimate in its face value. However, the redirection includes a malware attack to your system. The malware that you downloaded may copy your all your passwords and personal details including your bank accounts. The attack is vicious and fast-acting!

Prevention: Developers seldom send you updates thru email. Updates are usually prompted in the application store or in the app itself. When you receive spams like the ones mentioned above, please confirm with the official customer service hotline first.

Image Credits:

Image Credits:

Next time you encounter tricky circumstances, it is up to you to outsmart the fraud artists!

Sources: 1,  2, & 3


4 Ingenious Travel Scams Singaporeans Should Be Aware Of

Do not taint your vacation by becoming a victim of the latest travel scams targeting unsuspecting tourists. From your expensive belongings to your personal safety, the risks of scams are overwhelming. The finest form of protection in these situations is to be forewarned.


The wonderful backdrop of Bali’s serene sunset deserves to be encapsulated forever through a photograph. As quick as you are, you gathered your group to take a special “jumping shot”. Then one of the locals approached you and offered to take your group photo for free. Seconds later, your newfound friend disappears with your expensive camera.

Bustling city attractions are the most vulnerable places for this scam. Do not be fooled! If you have to take a photo, it is best to ask your fellow tourists and return the favor to them.


As a busy tourist with a fully packed schedule, you are bound to forget about your meals at times. A promotional pizza flyer slipped beneath the doors of your hotel room seems like the most convenient choice. So you gave your payment details over the phone and end up waiting for nothing. There was no pizza and you just gave your credit card details away to a stranger! Cue the *panic* music here.

This is why it is best to check with the authorization of the fliers first at the hotel’s concierge.


Using the different modes of transportation overseas will make you realize how lucky you are that Singaporean taxi companies are very well-regulated. But in other countries, the taximeter can be faked. Your driver may overcharge you by not stopping the meter while he takes a “toilet break” or by wiring the meter itself. To avoid this you must negotiate the rates beforehand, have your map handy, and ensure that the meter is in tact.

Here are the other taxi tips by Christine Kaaloa :


Modern technology paved way for keeping all your information such as credit card details (via Blogshop sites), savings account details (via internet banking), and school data (via university portal) in one place – your laptop or Smartphone. And as you login through the “free WiFi” at a terminal, you can fall prey to hackers. Hackers may set up unsecured WiFi spots in public locations in order to access of your device and steal important information.

Avoid this by asking which WiFi connection belongs to the establishment and by bringing your own pocket router while you travel. Consider the affordable portable WiFi Router available at Changi Recommends.

Sources: 1 & 2


Handphone Scams Are Soaring; Here’s What You Must Do

As shopping and payment transactions can be smoothly done through the power of your fingertips, about S$443 billion were spent in 2014’s mobile transactions – all over the world. But while digital wallets increase in popularity, so does the risk of scams.

What are handphone or mobile phone scams anyway? Handphone scams involve a variety of dishonest tactics, such as persuading you to buy a non-existent product or making you sign up to expensive subscription services, that are done for the scammer’s own profit.

According to Scams Singapore, a blog dedicated to identify and relay information about the existing frauds, common handphone scams occur when an unknown number contacts you and tells you to collect your prize or to pay for your kidnapped relative. With innovative ways to communicate and connect, the risk of scams rises. This is why it is important to stay vigilant and take preventative steps such as these:


When deciding which password you can use for your phone, do not choose the common ones such as 1234, 1111, or 0000. Also, you must change as often as possible.

For your mobile banking, maximize the use of your privacy settings by using two-factor authentication. Furthermore, do not make the security questions easy to answer because the scammers can just access your social media accounts.


To avoid downloading virus or other malware, only open attachments that were given by your friends, family, partners, and clients. Avoid phishing messages (i.e., when an unknown number asks for your bank account details). Simply, if you do not recognize the sender’s number and the area code is not +65 (i.e., Singapore’s area code) then, it is most likely a scam.

Image Credits: Antti Kultanen via Flickr with Creative Commons

Image Credits: Antti Kultanen via Flickr with Creative Commons


When downloading Smartphone Apps, opt for the Apps that are available on the official retailers such as the iTunes or Google Play stores. Otherwise, there is a possibility of downloading bugs, virus or other malware. Downloading a tracking App for your devices is helpful in case you get robbed.

Sources: 1, 2, & 3