SINGAPORE: Since March 2023, at least 46 victims have lost more than S$750,000 (US$556,923) to an online job scam variant involving the impersonation of Shopee employees, the police and Shopee Singapore said in a joint release on Monday (May 22).
The police and Shopee said that the victims first received unsolicited WhatsApp or Telegram messages from individuals pretending to be Shopee employees.
The "employees" would ask their victims to "like" items displayed on Shopee's platform or to participate in a Shopee survey to earn a small fee.
In recent cases, the scammers used easily obtainable information to craft personalised messages and created fake employee identification to deceive their victims, resulting in losses amounting to at least S$753,000.
Victims who completed the survey would then be offered a higher-paying role as a “Shopee assistant”. The scammers would pose as a Shopee customer service agent or a mentor to continue the ruse.
A link to a fake Shopee website was provided to victims, prompting them to register an account and begin their role as a “Shopee assistant”.
Victims were instructed to choose a pre-paid "task package", which involved the transfer of money to bank accounts provided by the scammers before starting "work".
They would receive their increased earnings in the initial phase and be convinced to top up their accounts to receive additional earnings.
“Victims would realise they had been scammed when they could not withdraw their earnings or when the scammers could no longer be contacted,” said the police and Shopee Singapore.
The police and Shopee advised members of the public to remain vigilant and adopt precautionary measures.
These include installing the ScamShield app on their devices and ensuring security features like two-factor (2FA) or multifactor authentication are in place for their bank, social media and Singpass accounts.
To check for scam signs, verification with official sources should be conducted. Transactions should never take place outside of Shopee's app. Consumers will only be contacted by the e-commerce platform via official channels, such as its app, verified social media and WhatsApp accounts or email addresses.
Consumers can also visit the ScamAlert website or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688.