Scammers on WeChat cheat victims of more than S$70,000: Police

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Scammers operating on messaging app WeChat cheated victims in Singapore of more than S$70,000, luring them with the promise of discounted gaming credits and attractive foreign currency exchange rates, police said on Tuesday (Mar 7).

One scam targeting online gamers involved pop-up advertisements in online games such as The Legend of the Condor Heroes, Jian Xia Qing Yuan 3, Three Kingdoms Rush and Xi Fei Zhuan. The ads offered gaming credits at a discounted price, police said in a news release.

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In order to receive the gaming credits, victims had to sign up on a website and give their personal particulars and bank account details. They were then asked to pay for the gaming credits through Alipay, iTunes or MyCard.

But the promised game credits never materialised and the scammers could not be contacted thereafter. The police added that some victims were further scammed into making additional payments on various pretexts, such as fees to check the authenticity of the bank account.

Another scam involved online advertisements offering online money changing services at attractive rates. Victims were told to transfer money to local bank accounts in order to receive foreign currency in their WeChat or Alipay account.

The police advised the public to take the following precautions:

• Exercise caution when responding to online advertisements. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is not.

• Bear in mind that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Before performing a transaction, find out how the online site safeguards your interest or can help you resolve disputes. Avoid engaging in the transaction if you are required to communicate with the other party outside of the website.

• Do not disclose your personal information such as your bank account details over the Internet.

• Use the services of licensed money changers if you need to exchange currencies. It is against the law for anyone to operate a money-changing business without a valid licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

• When in doubt, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722 6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg before you act.

– CNA

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