The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has notified the public to be wary of online contests after 14 Singaporeans fell victim to scammers who used Lazada’s name to organise fake contests and stole thousands of dollars.
How did they pull it off?
The typical modus operandi of a scammer is to DM their targets on Instagram using fake accounts of either victims’ friends or followers. They would say that they’re willing to help victims enter a Lazada competition to win money, and ask for key sensitive details including contact number and credit card information
Scammers would then use these details to transfer money out of the victims’ accounts. The One Time Passwords (OTPs) security feature is rendered useless in this regard because victims often willingly provide the OTPs in good faith.
They would only realise what had happened once they checked the details of their recent transactions.
How you protect yourself
With all the “Raya Bonanzas” and whatnot going on this time of the year, be wary of campaigns from familiar and trusted brands. In this case, “Lazada Campaign”, “Lazada Raffle”, “Lazada Gift Money” and “Lazada Lucky Draw” were all titles used by scammers.
Here are 3 rules given by SPF so you don’t become another statistic.
- Don’t be impulsive – Beware of unusual requests from strangers or even your social media contacts;
- Don’t believe – Be wary of claims that you have won a prize, especially if you have not participated in any campaign or lucky draw. Always verify the authenticity of the request by contacting your friend, but do not do so through the social media platform as the account might have been taken over by scammers;
- Don’t give – Do not transfer money or give out your personal information, credit/debit card details and bank account details to strangers.
If you wish to report scams, call 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. For more scam-related advice, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg where you can also join the SPF’s campaign and learn how you can protect your friends and family.
Additionally, a spokesperson from Lazada has released a statement to us today (16 May) commenting on the scams and providing other safety advice.