Anyone would like to make a quick buck, or earn money with minimum effort. While some of us may admire people who know how to “cheat the system,” some schemes can become downright criminal and prey on the unsuspecting citizens who have a lot to lose.
Here are some of the most prevalent yet effective scams that have plagued Singaporeans. If you have elderly parents, children or naive people in your life, this is a must-read.
Online Purchase Scam
The most prevalent scams involve buying something online simply because it’s easy to start, can be done anonymously and you can cover your tracks completely. Some of the more common scenarios are:
- Buying something at a low price only to receive a fake item or wrong item. If you receive anything at all.
- The seller disappears after you’re deposited or sent money.
Internet Love Scam
This one is quite hurtful, since the scammer tries to capture your feelings, build up a relationship and ultimately con you for money, items or even services. This is how it basically happens:
- A scammer preys on someone in a chat room or forum, gains their trust and builds up an online romantic relationship.
- They use photos of other attractive people to send and fool you to make you fall in love with the fake persona.
- Eventually, you may develop feelings, especially if you are lonely.
- Once the scammer thinks that you are fooled enough, they will ask money for one reason or another. More commonly, the reason is to buy a ticket to see you.
- Once you wire the money, they are never seen online again.
This scam can also be done over a long period of time with multiple transactions, as the scammer can ask for small amounts at first for living expenses then bigger amounts later.
China Officials Impersonations Scam
This one involves a lot of fearmongering and preying on people who panic easily and aren’t familiar with how the government works.
- Someone calls you and speaks in rapid Chinese or English, saying something about smuggled goods or some shady matter.
- Minutes later, a new person calls you to say that you’re implicated in a crime. They say that they are government or Chinese officials and that they need your information to absolve you of the crime.
- If you panic or are weak to oppressive people, you may end up giving them passport information, photos and even bank account details.
- With that information they can take out loans, buy items online, and basically impersonate you.
Email Impersonation Scam
Just like the China Official Scam, this involves someone impersonating someone important online and accusing you of certain things. Then you’re forced to give personal and bank details that give the scammer power to dip into your money or impersonate you to do illegal acts.
When someone offers you high returns for an investment and markets the latter with low risk, then it’s probably a scam.
- Someone may contact you through phone or email, saying they represent a financial institution in Singapore or another country.
- They offer a great investment rate with huge returns if you invest within a short period of time.
- If you don’t invest during that time, you lose the opportunity.
- Once you wire the money, you can’t find the FI anymore or they say that the investment flopped.
How do you protect yourself from these?
- Never give out personal information.
- If the deal, price or ROI is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Calm down and research. Look for reviews, testimonials and supporting documents and websites.
- Call the police at 1800-255-0000, 999 or submit a report at this website.
Have you ever been scammed? Share your story in the comments! We might post the most deplorable and grave incidents.