SINGAPORE: Fake Facebook accounts set up in the names of 13 People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament (MPs) have been found and taken down, the party said.
PAP executive director Alex Yam said on Friday (Mar 17) the party has detected “a spate of spoof social media accounts of various MPs”, with about two to three found daily.
“The spoof accounts start by imitating known public figures and adding friends. They then attempt to phish for information by sending spam messages through Facebook Messenger and using a simple tactic related to previous "Facebook Lottery"/"Facebook Reward Bonus" scams,” he said in a post on his page.
So far, 11 fake accounts have been found. All 11 have been taken down by Facebook, he said.
“Most of our MPs pages or profiles have a blue Facebook verified tick or a grey authentic tick. If in doubt please verify with the relevant MP or Page Administrators,” he added.
MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling said she was alerted to the fake account after it sent friend requests to many of her contacts and followers of her page. The account also sent out “bait messages” in an attempt to get Facebook users to click on links purporting to give out goodies.
“The fake account had the exact same profile picture and banner, except that it's not a page and did not have a blue tick,” she said in a post on her Facebook page.
She said the account has since been removed, but cautioned that “there is no guarantee that such fake accounts will not pop up again in future”.
Also targeted was Minister of State for Health and for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat, who is an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
“There has been a fake account pretending to be me, and sending Facebook friend requests and messages. Please take note that it is not my genuine account,” he said in a post on his page.
Fake accounts were also set up under the names of Fengshan MP Cheryl Chan and Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng.
In 2015, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob made a police report after a fake Facebook account used her name to attempt to scam people of money.