Police in Singapore helped stop a scam that was targeting users of bitcoin machines at a local mall.
The police have been investigating bitcoin machines at Tampines One Mall in Singapore that featured posters claiming to be an alert from law enforcement about the crypto, but were actually put up by scammers attempting to trick people to call a phone number. A 49-year-old man called, and the scammers impersonated authorities from China, telling him that he was under investigation for a transnational crime. The scammers then ordered the man to transfer a total of $1,000 ($734 USD) worth of bitcoin to their wallets on two occasions, which the victim did.
The police started watching the area during their investigation, and as a result, were able to stop a 32 year-old man from calling the same number.
“Do not fall for scammers who impersonate officials from China and ask victims to transfer money using bitcoin machines,” Singapore police warned, adding, “No government agency in Singapore will demand payment over the telephone or other social messaging platforms, such as WeChat or Facebook, or demand that you surrender cash to unnamed people. They would also not ask for personal banking information, such as your Internet banking passwords,” according to CCN.
This is just the latest crypto scam to hit the country. Between September and November of last year, $78,000 worth of cryptocurrencies held by investors living in Singapore were lost as the result of scams. The country is also the top of the list when it comes to general fraud schemes. In fact, last month it was reported that Singapore was the most “vulnerable” country in Southeast Asia last year, where there were more than three million malicious URLs affecting 15 million victims.
“Attacks that capitalize on the human desire to respond to urgent requests from authority are on the rise,” reported Security Asia. The number of business email compromise (BEC) attacks, said Trend Micro, was up by 28 percent globally. Singapore is the nation most beset by BEC attacks at more than 27 percent, followed by Malaysia at 26 percent.