The Police have received several reports where victims informed that they had incurred charges to their mobile phone bills after providing a three digit PIN number to strangers whom they befriended over Facebook.
Between January and November 2017, the Police received 130 cases, which is an increase of 120% from the same period last year. The total amount cheated to date in 2017 is at least $16,000. These cases continue to be reported in December.
In most of these cases, the scammers initiated contact with the victims by sending friend requests via Facebook. In some cases, the scammers even created Facebook accounts that closely resembled that of the victims’ friends! They then asked for the victims’ mobile phone numbers and mobile service providers. Subsequently, the scammers made online purchases of gaming credits/online gift cards using the victims’ mobile phone numbers. The purchases were charged to the victims’ mobile phone bills after the victims provided their One Time Passwords (OTP)/Verification Codes to the scammers. The victims only found out that they had fallen prey to the scam when they received their mobile phone bills.
Take the following precautions to protect yourself:
a) Do not share your personal information including OTP/Verification codes with anyone. Such information is useful to scammers and could potentially be used for purchases charged to your mobile phone bills.
b) Be wary of friend requests from strangers on social networking sites. They may not be who they claim to be.
c) If you receive a friend request from a friend on social networking sites, verify with your friend via another means of communication before accepting the request.
d) Report any fraudulent charges detected on your mobile phone bill to your mobile service provider immediately.
e) If in doubt, please call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.