Don’t Be Fooled By These Cryptocurrency Scams!5 min read
No, all these famous people did not invest in any “digital coins".
“Boy ah, what is this “Singapore Digital Coin” ah? Means next time no more paper money is it?” Dad asked me over breakfast last week. I had never heard of this, so I was naturally intrigued and asked him where he had heard it from. “Neh, social media lor. CNBC report one, so it must be true!” Dad said, showing me the Facebook app on his phone.
I took one look and knew instantly what it was—a cryptocurrency scam. With cryptocurrency a hot topic nowadays, many people are curious about it and want to learn more. This has also led to a scourge of scammers on social media looking to take advantage of people who may not be knowledgeable about the subject. So how can we identify these types of scams and protect ourselves from falling for them?
Looks legit, but actually not
A lot of these crypto scams try to lure you in with fake “news articles” on cryptocurrency which claim to be from legitimate news outlets like CNBC. For example, in this Facebook post below:
Screenshot from Facebook
This looks like a post of someone sharing an article from CNBC, but there’s a telltale sign that immediately flags it as suspicious. If you look closely, there is the word “Sponsored” under the name of the Facebook account. This means that it is not a normal Facebook post but a paid advertisement—someone has paid money to show this post to you, in the hopes that you will click it!
Indeed, if you click on the post, it will lead you to a fake CNBC page that talks about how Singapore is “officially endorsing a cryptocurrency coin”:
Screenshot of the fake website
How can you tell if this is a fake page? One way is if every single link you click leads you to the same page. The menu and navigation bar on top won’t lead you to other parts of the CNBC website, but will direct you to a specific page that the scammer wants you to visit, like this:
Screenshot of a scam website
Here, they will try to lure you in with promises of “big profits” if you invest in their cryptocurrency, and ask you to create an account on their website.
Screenshot of scam website
Finally, they will ask you to enter your credit card details so you can “purchase cryptocurrency on their platform”. Do not do this! Once you give away your card details to these scammers, they will try to make fraudulent transactions on your card which you will have to pay for.
The Celeb Trap
Another way that these scammers try to seem more legit is by claiming that many famous celebrities and personalities have also joined their schemes. For instance, this fake article about popular Singapore singer JJ Lin:
Screenshot of a scam blog
And even another one with DPM Heng Swee Keat:
Screenshot of fake CNA website
Every day, scammers are coming out with more creative ways across multiple platforms and channels to reach their target. This one even created a fake WhatsApp account that spoofs the Straits Times!
Screenshot of a fake WhatsApp message
Be very careful when you receive these kind of messages, and always seek the advice of a knowledgeable and trusted friend or family member to avoid falling for these scams.
Don't get duped!
Here are some things you can look out for to avoid falling for crypto scams on social networks:
Pay attention to the details: Look closely at the name of a website, the description on a Facebook post and the wording on online messages. Little details, like a small misspelling or poorly done design, could be a red flag.
Do your research: Any schemes that guarantee you'll make big profits without details should be treated with scepticism. You can also search for the name of the company or cryptocurrency with words such as “review," “scam" or “complaint" to see what others are saying about it.
Think before you jump: Reject any offer that requires an up-front fee no matter what. You will very likely never see the money again!
Always Ask, Check and Confirm
The Securities Investor Association (Singapore) advises that one should always perform the following checks before investing:
- ASK as many questions as you need to fully understand the investment opportunity.
- CHECK on the company to assess if the opportunity is genuine
- CONFIRM the company’s credentials by using resources such as the Investor Alert List on www.mas.gov.sg
This applies not only to crypto, but also to any other type of investment opportunities. Be vigilant, and stay safe out there!
The eldest of the Tng family. Smart, buff, responsible, and very single. Bobby works in IT in the civil service and is a loyal son, brother and friend. Like his father, he is always brewing with ideas and his greatest wish is to be an entrepreneur one day.