SINGAPORE — The Singapore police are working with social media giant Meta to crack down on scams, aiming to terminate WhatsApp lines believed to be linked to fraudulent activities, as well as removing suspicious online usernames and advertisements.
In recent months, there has been a surge in scams involving Android malware, with many of these schemes involving advertisements on popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, enticing victims with various product and service offers.
In response to inquiries from CNA on Tuesday (10 October), the police highlighted the evolving tactics of scammers, saying, “They often attempt to lure users with attractive offers and promotions, through eye-catching advertisements on food items, services and sale of travel packages on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.”
Rising cases, evolving tactics, and young adults most vulnerable
Last month, the police revealed that victims lost $334.5 million to scams in the first half of the year. While this marked a 2.2 per cent decrease compared to the same period the previous year, the number of scam cases increased by 64.5 per cent.
According to the police, more than half of these cases (55 percent) resulted in losses of S$2,000 or less.
The majority of victims falling prey to scams were young adults aged 20 to 39, who were primarily targeted through e-commerce, job and phishing scams.
During the first six months of the year, more than 750 cases of Android device users falling victim to malware scams were reported, resulting in losses of at least $10 million.
The police also shared insights into the methods employed by scammers to approach victims, stating that they primarily utilised messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram, social media, phone calls, online shopping platforms and SMSes.
Police’s efforts to combat malware phishing
According to CNA, the police said they have been taking “timely enforcement action”, collaborating with banks to trace and recover funds, and working with overseas law enforcement agencies to take down cross-border scam syndicates.
“Police have arrested more than 130 individuals involved in malware phishing scams locally since early June,” said the police.
Furthermore, in cooperation with the Royal Malaysia Police, the Anti-Scam Command successfully “busted two transnational malware phishing syndicates in Malaysia”, leading to the arrest of nine syndicate members in July and August.
The police also work closely with the Association of Banks in Singapore and relevant government agencies to raise awareness among customers about malware scams.
In addition to these actions, the police work closely with the Association of Banks in Singapore and relevant government agencies to raise awareness among customers about malware scams.
The police also emphasise the importance of downloading apps exclusively from official app stores and highlight how the Anti-Scam Centre has collaborated with banks to enhance their fraud detection and blocking mechanisms.
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