Types of scams

Introduction Singapore is known for its advanced economy and high standards of living. Unfortunately, scammers also thrive in this bustling city-state. From phishing scams to investment fraud, Singaporeans are constantly at risk of being duped out of their hard-earned money.…

Human Trafficking Scam

According to reports, a large number of people from Taiwan, Malaysia, and other countries were lured by high-paying jobs to work in Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar. However, job seekers are transferred to the Cambodian fraud zone and forced to engage in illegal work such as cross-border telecom fraud or online gambling. Fraud parks and companies are heavily guarded, detaining passports of victims, inflicting violence, illegal detention, abuse, sexual assault, and restricting civil liberties, in order to coerce victims to work, or resell victims as commodities to other companies, and even buy and sell organs.

It’s important to be cautious when looking for jobs abroad and to do thorough research on the company and the job offer before accepting it. Don’t trust a salary that is higher than reality.


Malware is a term used to describe malicious software that is designed to damage or disrupt computer systems. Adware, Spyware, virus, Trojans, and keyloggers are all types of malware.

Remove “Access To This PC Has Been Blocked For Security Reasons” Pop-ups


Love scams (Romance Scams)

Many people will find the person they like by making friends of the opposite sex, but remember that the ones waiting for you may also be scammer. They will use sweet talk, all kinds of lies, and they will also collude with friends and family members, and even use their children to win sympathy, through sexual intercourse to scam. If the person wants to borrow money from you or ask you to invest, you must be cautious. Remember: Love may be blind, but love must never be blinded.

Indonesia sex scams

They collude with family and friends to get close to you and then concoct all kinds of lies, provide identification, bring in children to win your sympathy, and even have sex with you to gain your trust. When they manage to swindle your money, they run away without a trace. When you find them, they will once again join forces with friends and family to threaten or kill you. Not only women but also men, you can’t imagine how cheap they are.

Batam Scammer Rasmi Sinaga and Gang


Internet Love scams (Credit-for-Sex scams)

Internet love scams are a type of fraud in which cybercriminals adopt fake online personalities to win the affection and trust of their victims. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. These scams usually happen on social media sites, dating apps, or websites, and involve cat catching, love bombing, and manipulation.

According to the Singapore Police Force, there were at least 175 cases of internet love scams between January to March 2020 with total losses amounting to at least S$6.6 million. In 2020 alone, internet love scams cost victims $33.1 million in Singapore.

To protect yourself from online romance scams, it is important to be cautious when interacting with strangers online. Never send money or gift cards to someone you have never met in person. Be wary of people asking for your personal information or refusing to meet you in person.

Cyber extortion (Sextortion scam)

Cyber extortion is a scam in which cybercriminals threaten to reveal embarrassing or damaging information about a victim unless they pay a ransom. These scams can take many forms, including Sextortion scams, in which the scammer threatens to publish compromising photos or videos of the victim.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers often use email for extortion scams. They may claim to have hacked into the victim’s computer or phone and obtained sensitive information or photos. The scammer then threatens to reveal the information unless the victim pays the ransom.

To protect yourself from Cyber extortion, it is important to be cautious when sharing personal information online. Be wary of unsolicited emails or messages from strangers. If you receive an email that threatens to reveal sensitive information about you, please do not reply or engage with the scammer. Instead, please report the email to your email provider and local law enforcement.

Investment scams (Ponzi scheme)

Investment scams are typically fraudulent schemes that promise high investment returns but are actually designed to steal money from unsuspecting investors. There are three main types of investment fraud: fictitious investments that do not exist at all, investments that exist but where the fraudster takes the money instead of investing in the opportunity, and real investments where the scammer provides false information to mislead investors. To avoid falling victim to investment scams, you must be wary of opportunities that offer high returns with little or no risk. Always ask, check, and confirm before investing.

Commerce scams (Retail scams)

Transaction fraud has been reported in many countries. These scams often involve offering fake products or services, including lotteries, fake education, and hair treatments, and demanding prepayment. They usually target vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. Always be careful when dealing with such people and do thorough research on the company before paying.

E-commerce scams (Online Purchase/Sales scams)

E-commerce scams are fraudulent activities that occur on online purchasing platforms. Scammers trick victims into making payments for online purchases that do not get delivered to them, including tours, concerts, and attractions tickets. Fraudsters also create fake customer service listings for popular businesses and pay them to appear in search results. Examples of E-commerce scams include card testing fraud, friendly fraud, refund fraud, account takeover fraud, interception fraud, and triangulation fraud. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it is important to verify the authenticity of the seller and monitor fraudulent seller behavior. Secure payment options should also be used.

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Commerce Impersonation scams

Impersonation scams are the act of duplicating identifying elements of a person, brand, or organization for fraudulent purposes. In simple terms, an impersonator pretends to be someone else to get an advantage. This motivation usually lies in stealing sensitive data or selling counterfeit products. Criminals use a tactic known as social engineering to groom and manipulate you into transferring money or divulging your personal and financial details.

QR code scams

A QR code scam is a fraudulent practice that uses QR codes to trick people into providing personal information. Scammers create fake QR codes that look like real ones and place them in public places such as bus stops, train stations, and shopping malls. When people scan the code with their smartphones, they are taken to a fake website that looks just like the real one. The site then asks for personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and passwords. Once fraudsters have this information, they can use it to steal money or commit identity theft.

Government official impersonation scams (Macau scams)

Government impersonator scams often start with a phone call, email, or text message from someone claiming to work for a government agency. They may give you an “employee ID number” to appear formal. They may have information about you, such as your name or home address. If you receive such a call or message, you should hang up or delete it immediately. You can also report it to the relevant authorities.

Fake Friend/Celebrity/Family Scams

A fake friend scam is a scam in which scammers create a fake Facebook profile and ask to be your friend to gain access to personal information that you restrict to “friends only”.

Another type of fake friend scam is where the scammer poses as the victim’s friend, usually by phone. Often, these scammers will not identify themselves, but instead ask victims to guess who they are, then pose as a friend of the victim’s choice.

In Fake Celebrity Scams, scammers impersonating famous people on social media is a common type of scam. They ask fans to send money for various so-called reasons — like claiming a prize, donating to a charity, or providing some sort of favor.

Family emergency imposter scam, where scammers pose as family members to ask for money is a common scam. They sometimes use AI-powered tools to replicate the sound of audio samples of several sentences.

To avoid falling for these scams, it’s important to do your research and check if the claims are true, call or message family or friends who are allegedly connected to you, and call others in your family or circle of friends to verify the information.

Job scams

Job scams are a type of cybercrime where scammers impersonate legitimate organizations such as recruitment agencies and offer fake job opportunities to trick people into giving away their personal information such as bank account details and passwords. In Singapore, the police have observed an increasing trend of job scams. where scammers lure victims by offering fake job offers, including buying jobs on online platforms.

To avoid job scams, it’s important to be cautious when dealing with people who offer job opportunities that seem too good to be true. You should always do thorough research on the company and the job before investing any money or providing any personal information. You should also be wary of job offers that require you to pay money upfront or provide sensitive information such as your social security number or bank account details.

Loan scams

Loan scams are fraudulent schemes against people who need money. In Singapore, the police have repeatedly issued warnings about loan fraud. These scams can take many forms, including phone calls, SMSes, fake letters, or emails purportedly from banks, lending companies, or government agencies that require an administrative fee before the loan can be issued. Scammers can also demand confidential information from victims to process loans and demand payment of administrative fees. To avoid falling victim to loan scams, you should be wary of unsolicited loan offers and also verify the legitimacy of the lender at the link below.


Fake gambling platforms scams

Fake gambling platform scams are fraudulent schemes targeting people seeking online gambling opportunities. In Singapore, the police have issued several advisories on fake gambling platform scams. These scams can take many forms, including fake websites that look like legitimate online casinos. Scammers may also use social media platforms to advertise their fake gambling platforms. To avoid falling victim to a fake gambling platform scam, you should be wary of unsolicited gambling offers and always verify the legitimacy of the platform.

Tech support scams

Tech support scams are a type of fraud where scammers pretend to be technical support representatives from reputable companies such as Singtel. They contact victims via phone or email and claim that their computer has a virus or other technical problem that needs to be fixed. The scammers then ask for remote access to the victim’s computer and charge them for unnecessary repairs or software. To protect yourself from tech support scams, you should never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team.

Kidnap scams

Kidnap scams are a type of scam where scammers make a phone call to a victim and tell them a loved one has been taken. Threats of violence quickly follow unless a ransom is paid, usually in the form of a wire transfer. The most disturbing aspect of these calls is that scammers play recordings of screams in the background. In Singapore, the Kidnapping Act and the Penal Code provide for the offense of kidnapping. It will also cover planning a kidnapping, how to identify a plotting kidnapper, as well as what to do if you receive a call or text claiming a kidnapping. The police have warned members of the public against such messages.

Spiritual blessing scams

There have been reports of “spiritual blessing” scams in many countries. These scams usually involve scammers claiming to be spiritual healers or fortune tellers and offering to bless their victims for a fee. They often target vulnerable people such as the elderly and those who are grieving. Some might use their spirituality to trick people into giving them money or making them feel guilty about not donating. They might also convince people that they have been cursed and that only they can remove it for them. There are also reports of people being scammed by people claiming to be spiritual figures in Indonesia. They promise to turn small investments into immense wealth. It’s important to be cautious when dealing with such people and to do thorough research on them before investing any money. Here are some signs that someone might be using spirituality to scam others:

They seek to get something out of it (e.g., money, emotional support, or a feeling of superiority and power over others).

They make you feel like you’re missing out on something important that only they can provide you with.

They convince you that you have been cursed and that only they can remove it for you.

Help-seeking scams

People have been instilled with the idea of helping others since childhood, and scammers also use this advantage of people to defraud. Scammers will ask you for financial help under various pretexts, including contacting the victim and telling them they won the lottery. The scammers then demand payment from the victim to claim the prize. Some even went around saying that they lost their wallets and asked for bus fare or food money. If you come across this type of scam, never hand over your money and call the police immediately.

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Charity scams

Charity scams are a type of fraud that involves soliciting donations under false pretenses. Scammers may use a variety of tactics to trick people into giving them money, including impersonating legitimate charities such as orphanages or nursing homes, using high-pressure sales tactics, or making emotional appeals. To avoid charity scams, it is important to do your research before donating. You can search for charities and IPCs on the register maintained by the COC found at the Charity Portal (www.charities.gov.sg). 

Inheritance scams

Inheritance scams is a fraudulent practice in which someone posing as a lawyer or lawyer contacts the victim using the story of someone who died and left an inheritance to the intended victim. The scammer may claim that the victim is a distant relative of the deceased, or that they can collect the inheritance through legal trickery with someone who shares their last name. Scammers will demand money before victims receive their inheritance. The stories and methods of inheritance scammers are constantly changing and evolving.

Be careful when you receive emails or letters telling you that you are a distant relative of someone you never heard of. Scammers will go to great lengths to convince you that a fortune awaits if you follow their instructions. They may even send you a large number of seemingly legitimate legal documents to sign, such as power of attorney documents.

Money Mule scams (Nigerian letter scam)

A money mule scam is a way to launder money obtained from illegal activities by using a third party to transfer it through their personal bank account or other methods. The third-party may be unaware of the source of the money or maybe lured by online dating, work-at-home jobs, or prizes. This scam can expose the third party to legal trouble.

The Nigerian letter scam is a type of advance fee fraud scheme. The scam involves a sender offering a commission to someone via email to help transfer a large sum of money. The scam artist poses as a business owner, lawyer, banker, or foreign government official needing assistance to move money from their country. The commission offered is usually enticing enough to compel recipients to send thousands of dollars to a stranger.

Be careful when you receive unsolicited emails or letters asking for your help in transferring money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t respond to these emails or letters and don’t send any money.

Car Rental / Sales scams

Car rental/sales scams are becoming more and more common. Fraudsters can impersonate a car rental/sales company and ask for a prepaid gift card or debit card. Other scams include fake advertisements on car rental/sales portals and phishing emails. Scammers can pose as car rental/sales company representatives and offer special promotions. Car rental/sales companies can introduce expensive insurance plans and charge unexpected fees. Researching the car rental/sales company and verifying the transaction directly with the company is recommended to avoid scams.

Real estate scam

A real estate scam is when someone falsely represents that they or the property owner intends to rent or sell in order to obtain money or information from a potential tenant/buyer. The property may be fake, rented out, or not owned by the scammer. Scammers may use false advertisements, fake websites, or hijacked listings to lure tenants/buyers. Tenants/buyers should be wary of low prices, upfront payments, and lack of an in-person presence.

Business email compromise (BEC) scams

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of phishing scam in which a fraudster impersonates a trusted person, such as a colleague, executive, or vendor, to deceive a target into transferring money or data. The fraudster may compromise or spoof a legitimate email account through social engineering or computer intrusion. The scam may involve different purposes and scenarios, such as acquisitions, vendor payments, or W-2 forms. BEC scams target businesses and individuals of all sizes and industries around the world and have caused billions of dollars in losses. To avoid such scams, you can verify the legitimacy of the contact person by checking their website or contacting their customer service. You can also check if the contact person is registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

Home Delivery Scams (Dropshipping Scams)

Scammers also target delivery personnel from parcel and food delivery companies. In this scam variant, the victims receive a cash-on-delivery order via their company’s delivery application. The scammers then contact the victim and claim that the order was made in error and request for a refund. The scammers would then ask the victim to transfer the refund amount to a bank account provided by them.

To protect yourself from this scam, it is important to be cautious when accepting cash-on-delivery orders from unknown customers. If you receive a request for a refund, it is important to verify the request before fulfilling it. You can contact your company’s customer service hotline or your supervisor to verify the request.

If you have already fallen victim to this scam, it is important to seek help immediately. You can report the scam to your local law enforcement agency and your bank or credit card company for assistance.

Home delivery scams are a type of scam where scammers pose as delivery personnel from legitimate companies such as Amazon or FedEx. The scammers would contact the victim and claim that there was an issue with the delivery of their package. They would then ask the victim to provide their personal information or credit card details to resolve the issue. Scammers also pose as delivery personnel and ask for cash payment upon delivery. They would claim that there was an issue with the payment or that the payment was not received. They would then ask the victim to provide a cash payment to resolve the issue.

E-Card/Picture Scam

E-card/picture scams are another type of internet scam that malicious actors use to inject malware and gain access to users’ most valuable data. Scammers use e-cards/pictures. Opening such e-cards/pictures usually results in malware being downloaded and installed on your operating system. This type of malware gives scammers access to all personal and financial information stored on a victim’s computer or mobile phone.

To avoid greeting scams, you should not click or forward the e-card/picture and delete it immediately.

Credit card scams

Credit card scams are a serious issue and can lead to significant financial loss. Here are some tips to avoid credit card scams:

Make sure your credit card details are secure whenever you are about to input your credit card details, double-check that the website you are on is secure.

Monitor your bank account and credit card statements to identify any fraudulent purchases and unauthorized transactions.

Check your credit report.

Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi.

Use tap-to-pay services.

You can also take some additional steps such as not throwing personal documents into the bin without shredding them first, using a chip reader whenever possible, and protecting your wallet or purse.

Hypnosis scams

Hypnosis scams are a type of scam that involves the use of hypnosis to manipulate people into giving away their money or personal information. These scams can take many forms, but they often involve a scammer convincing the victim that they are under hypnosis and then using this supposed state to get them to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

For example, one common hypnosis scam involves a scammer calling someone on the phone and convincing them that they are under hypnosis. The scammer then uses this supposed state to get the victim to give them their credit card information or other sensitive personal information.

It’s important to be aware of these scams and to be cautious when someone is trying to convince you that you are under hypnosis. If you suspect that you are being scammed, it’s best to hang up the phone or end the conversation as soon as possible.

Wangiri scams

Wangiri scams are phone-based scams that involve calling random numbers and hanging up after one or two rings. The scammer hopes that the person who receives the call will call back, and when they do, they will be charged a premium rate for the call.

Travel scams

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Fake accident scams

Fake accident scams are a type of insurance fraud where criminals stage accidents or make false claims for compensation. The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has identified three main types of scams: staged accidents, induced accidents, and ghost accidents. Staged accidents involve criminals purposely crashing into each other and making a claim. Induced accidents are when innocent motorists are set up so criminals can make claims for compensation. Ghost accidents are essentially fake car accident claims that fraudsters submit to insurers.

It’s important to be aware of these scams and to take steps to protect yourself. If you’re involved in an accident that seems suspicious, take photos of the damage and the other driver’s license plate. You should also report any suspicious activity to the police or your insurance company.

Bump and grab

One of the most common travel scams is the “bump and grab,” and frequently happens in train, bus, and metro stations. Tourists can easily get distracted and overwhelmed by the number of people in these bustling transportation hubs. In this scam, a thief or a group of thieves will “accidentally” bump into a tourist.

The sauce trick

The sauce trick is a scam that is used by pickpockets to divert your attention away from your valuables and onto something else. The crook squirts or spills sauce on you. They then point it out, offering to help clean it off you. Meanwhile, they fleece you of your wallet or their accomplice does.

Money changing scams

Money changing scams are on the rise. Scammers shortchange travelers using money-changing services. They can swap notes for other notes or coins, then back again. Fraudsters have also been known to ask for change, only to cancel the transaction pocketing any money they have been given in the process. One example of a money changing scam is the quick change scam. This is when an individual targets inexperienced cashiers by paying for small priced items with a large bill ($50). Before the cashier could give back the change the suspect would engage the cashier in a speedy series of money exchanges thereby confusing the cashier.

Dodgy tours scams

Dodgy tours scams are common travel scams. Scammers can offer tours that are not what they seem. They may take you to a location that is not worth the price or even dangerous. They may also ask for payment upfront and then disappear. To avoid being scammed, it is important to research the tour company before booking and to read reviews from other travelers.

Taxi and tuk-tuk scams

Taxi and tuk-tuk scams are also common travel scams. Scammers can overcharge you for a ride or take you on a longer route to increase the fare. To avoid being scammed, it is important to research the taxi or tuk-tuk company before booking and to agree on the fare before getting in the vehicle.

Ticket scams

Ticket scams are common when tickets for popular concerts, plays, and sporting events sell out. Scammers usually sell fake tickets or you pay for a ticket but never receive it. To avoid being scammed, it is important to know how to tell if a ticket is fake and what to do if it is.

Fake cops

Fake cops are people who pretend to be police officers to commit crimes such as robbery or kidnapping. If you are being chased by a fake cop, it is important to stay calm and drive to the nearest police station. You should also make a report and provide details of the incident.

Vocation rental scams

Vacation rental scams are common and can be costly. Scammers may advertise premium vacation properties for super cheap prices. Below-market rent can be a sign of a scam. Here are some tips on how to avoid rental scams while traveling:

Do not wire money or send a prepaid debit card for a deposit or first month’s rent.

Do not rent without seeing the property.

Do not give out personal information without meeting the landlord.

Do not trust someone who says they are out of the country and cannot show you the property.

Bar scams

Bar scams can ruin a night out, especially when you’re traveling. For many travelers, no trip is complete without a visit to the local bars. Local bars are a great place to engage with the locals, find the best places to eat and shop, and lets you really get to know the people at your destination. However, bar scams are common and can be costly. Here are some tips on how to avoid bar scams while traveling:

Do not accept drinks from strangers.

Do not leave your drink unattended.

Do not give your credit card to the bartender.

Do not let the bartender charge you for more drinks than you ordered.

Be careful when befriending strangers online. Know the tell-tale signs of a fake dating profile: poor grammar that doesn’t gel with their level of education, or using a fake photo sourced from the Internet is just a couple of warning signs
Scammers prey on emotions to lull victims into believing their friendship is genuine; be wary of people who shower you with loving words and profess strong feelings for you even before you have even met
Do not respond hastily to any requests of money, even if they sound desperate or troubled

Do not send money to people you do not know well, especially if you have not met in person
Be in control of your emotions and meet all requests for money with a cool head, knowing that it could be a scam
Do not lend money to people unless you prepare unable to collect back especially people from other country.
Do not reveal too much about yourself, particularly in the form of photos or videos, to prevent you from being blackmailed later on
Contact the Police immediately if you receive any message or call from someone claiming to be in trouble overseas and urgently needs you to send money

If you suspect that you are a victim, stop contacting the person immediately and talk to someone you trust. You can also call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit your information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
To seek scam-related advice, you may call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg. Join the ‘let’s fight scams’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victim of scam.

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