Sex scammers in Singapore have been using WeChat, Locanto and OkCupid, with victims losing at least $304,000 since the start of the year.
As reported by The Straits Times, the first 16 days of March saw 53 credit-for-sex scam cases reported to the police in Singapore with at least $304,000 being lost by victims.
The victims were usually men who fell for scams on WeChat, Locanto and OkCupid.
Scammers would get to know their victims by communicating with them through the social media platforms. A meeting between the scammer and their victim would be arranged but the scammer would not show up.
Victims would receive a call from someone claiming to be the boss or agent of the scam artist and would convince them to buy gift cards or online shopping credit. Such gifts include iTunes and Alipay Purchase Cards, which can be purchased through AXS machines or convenience stores.
The victim would be told that they must purchase these gifts before they can meet the scammer, with suggested sexual favours spicing up the deal.
Scammers were reportedly using Chinese names, targeting Mandarin-speaking victims. Some have recently used English names too.
Police have said there were 779 cases of credit-for-sex scams in 2016, which is a 33.8% decrease from the 1177 reported in 2015.
The public has been advised to call the police hotline, 1800-255-0000, if any information regarding the scams can be provided. In the meantime, the police have advised the public to:
– Be wary of strangers who befriend you online, such as through social messaging platforms.
– Do not provide personal details when engaging with other users online.
– Do not share your payment receipts, e-mails or purchase cards containing details such as PIN numbers that can be used to redeem online credits.