Don’t fall victim to a telephone scam – educate yourself on the latest tricks to get you to part with your money.

Whatsapp scam

What is it?

The Singapore Police Force issued a warning just last month about a scam that causes victims to lose access to their Whatsapp accounts.

How does it work?

Victims would receive Whatsapp messages from people on their contact list asking for their Whatsapp account verification codes.

Once the victims send the codes over, the scammers control of the accounts.

They would then use these compromised accounts to con people on the contact list into purchasing gift cards and sending over the passwords for the cards. The cards would then be sold online.

How can I protect myself?

Don’t entertain unusual requests via Whatsapp, even if they come from someone on your contact list, as the account may have been compromised.

Speak with the person to verify their identity.

You can also protect your Whatsapp account by enabling the “Two-step Verification” feature.

Impersonation scam

What is it?

There are several variations of this ruse, with the scammers pretending to be all manner of officials, from police officers to bank staff. The latest iteration in Malaysia involves scammer pretending to be postal couriers.

How does it work?

Scammers will call their victims, impersonating any of the above-mentioned positions.

They inform the victims that they have broken the law and will be in trouble if they do not pay a fine, which is to be transferred to an account number they provide.

The scammers also tell their victims that the conversation is being recorded and that they must not tell anyone about it or they’ll get in further trouble.

How can I protect myself?

These scammers use Caller ID spoofing technology to divert the phone numbers from the relevant agencies so it looks like you’re getting a call from the police, for example.

But it’s important to note that government agencies will never conduct business in this manner, so this is clearly a scam. Hang up and make a police report.

Wangiri scam

What is it?

This scam has been around for the better part of a decade but it does pop up now and again in a slightly different form, so it’s important to always be alert.

Wangiri means “one ring” and “cut” in Japanese, where the victim receives a call from an overseas number that gets cut off after just one ring.

How does it work?

Getting the call is not the problem, returning the call is. If you return the call, you will likely hear an advertisement for a subscription chat line or internet service, and you will be charged for the call.

The latest variation involves receiving a Whatsapp message with a contact attachment – you will be charged for calling the contact.

How can I protect myself?

Never return the call, especially if you don’t know anyone living in the country from where the call originates. Block the number and Google it to see if there are any reports of scammers using it.

Kidnapping scams

What is it?

This is another scam that’s making its rounds in Singapore again, with local police reporting that they have received numerous reports about it last month.

How does it work?

Scammers send text messages to victims claiming that they have kidnapped the victims’ loved ones and will harm them if they do not transfer a large amount of money to a bank account.

How can I protect myself?

Remain calm and contact your loved ones immediately to ensure they are safe. Don’t transfer the money or respond to the text message, and be sure to block the number. Make a police report.

This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest