Carousell fake buyer scam losses in Singapore top S$1 million in December, surpassing total for rest of 2022

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    CNA

    1st January 2023 – (Singapore) The number of phishing scam victims on e-commerce platform Carousell and the amount lost in December alone exceeded those reported from the first eleven months of 2022.

    In December, at least 1,115 victims were cheated by fake buyers, losing a total of at least S$1 million (around HK$5.82 million) , the police said on Sunday.

    This compares to at least 975 victims, with reported losses adding up to at least S$938,000, from January to November in 2022.

    “Based on investigations, a significant proportion of the reports lodged involved unauthorised overseas PayNow transfers,” the police added.

    “This is a troubling trend, because once money is moved overseas, the chances of recovery are very slim.”

    HOW THE PHISHING SCAMS WORK

    Scammers would pose as prospective buyers on Carousell, who would then ask sellers – in this case, victims – to key in their banking details on spoofed websites to facilitate payment.

    Unauthorised transactions would be made from their bank accounts or cards.

    “To curb this scam surge, key partners in the ecosystem including Carousell and the Association of Banks in Singapore are implementing measures to protect their customers,” said the police on Sunday.

    “These include but are not limited to adding friction into overseas PayNow transfers as the affected banks deem appropriate until this threat subsides.”

    CNA has contacted Carousell and the Association of Banks in Singapore for more information on these measures.

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