At least 84 people have lost over $177,000 after falling prey to a phishing scam involving fake buyers on Carousell and Facebook in June. How do you avoid falling victim to this fake buyer scam on online marketplaces?
According to The Straits Times, the police said this scam variant, in which scammers pose as buyers was making a resurgence.
The Fake Buyer Scam Approach
The scammers would approach victims by messaging them on Carousell or Facebook, pretending to be interested in the listed items.
The Malicious URL Link or QR Code
Once an agreement has been reached, the seller would be sent a malicious URL link or QR code through e-mail, a direct message in the respective apps or WhatsApp. They would give the excuse or pretext of receiving payment or paying for courier services to deliver the items.
When victims click on the link or scan the QR code, they would be directed to a spoofed website where they are made to key in their Internet banking login credentials, credit card details or their one-time password.
They only realise they had been scammed when they notice unauthorised transactions being made from their bank accounts or cards.
Did You Know?
The annual report by the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams assessing the safety and security of online transactions for consumers ranked Facebook Marketplace and Carousell in the bottom two.
Some 60% of e-commerce scams reported in Singapore were conducted through the two platforms. “Facebook Marketplace lacks seller verification tools and secure payment options, while such measures are optional on Carousell.
The key takeaway is that it pays to be cautious online, regardless of the platforms. Always deal through the official platform where possible to avoid becoming a scam victim to save on the platform fees.
Protect Yourself From Scam
Here’s how you can protect yourself to avoid falling for scams.
- Download the ScamShield app
- Set up two-factor or multifactor authentication for banks
- Avoid clicking on dubious links or scanning dubious QR codes
- Report any fraudulent transactions to banks and e-commerce platforms immediately
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