Between January and April 2016, the Police have received about 30 reports from members of public who were introduced to foreign investment opportunities through social media platforms such as Wechat, LINE and Facebook.
Most victims received unsolicited messages from persons claiming to be stock brokers, employees of banks or financial companies who introduced them to investment packages that promised returns of 10 to 50 times the amount invested. The victims were asked to provide their personal particulars, such as NRIC and passport number, to fill up the investment form. They then transferred monies to banks in Hong Kong and China, and had to pay administrative fees, security fees and taxes to receive the profits and returns. Some victims also received phone calls from persons claiming to be from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority or Hong Kong Overseas Control Centre asking them for a deposit before their profits could be released.
To date, the victims have lost more than $1,500,000 to this scam.
Members of public are advised to take the following precautions: –
a) Exercise caution when befriending strangers through social media platforms.
b) Be cautious of promise of high returns. Investments with high returns usually come with high risks. Always check with a licensed financial advisor before engaging in any investment.
c) Be wary when asked to send money overseas.
d) Do not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details to someone whom you do not know well.
e) Be wary if you deal with unregulated entities. If the entity is based outside of Singapore, check with the respective overseas authority if the entity is regulated.