SINGAPORE – At least 237 people have fallen for a phishing scam involving fake “WhatsApp Web” pages since the start of November, with total losses amounting to $606,000, the police said in a statement on Monday.
In these cases, scammers first gained control of compromised WhatsApp accounts after users clicked on unverified URL links while searching for the official WhatsApp Web webpage.
Impersonating the original account user, scammers then reached out to the user’s family or friends listed on the account’s contact list asking for loans.
Scammers typically claimed that they urgently needed the money for themselves to pay for purchases, or to help a friend or relative in financial distress.
For example, scammers might claim they needed to pay for medical emergencies, but their bank accounts had been restricted due to having exceeded transfer limits.
Some scammers might also ask the contacts to provide a screenshot showing the transfer to request more money later.
The contacts were subsequently asked to transfer money to an unfamiliar bank account or PayNow number supposedly belonging to the original account user.
“Victims would realise they had been scammed after contacting or being contacted by their family or friends who claim not to have received any monies,” the police said.
The police advised members of the public to adopt security measures such as enabling WhatsApp’s two-step verification feature and ensuring they only use WhatsApp Web’s official website, and to be wary of any unusual requests received on the messaging platform.
One should also refrain from sharing WhatsApp account verification codes and check linked devices on WhatsApp regularly, the police added.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688.
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