Online scams in Singapore are on the rise. Internet love scams, Binary Options scams, and email impersonation scams are cheating more and more unwitting Singaporeans in their quest for love and quick riches.

How can you blame them? Native advertising on reputable sites like Yahoo has allowed dubious sites to present themselves as offering valuable content. With catchy headlines and a seemingly safe environment, it’s hard to detect these scams.

ASK QUESTIONS

Always question anything that confuses you or isn’t put across clearly by any party requesting your money. Remember, it’s your money, and if the government/bank/insurance company/etc. wants it for some reason, you have every right to ask a million questions.

Photo: BankBazaar.sg

UNDERSTAND HARASSMENT

Most people who lose money because of ‘internet love scams’ and ‘credit-for-sex’ scams are also victims of harassment. Typically, these scams prey on a person’s need for companionship, and victims send money across willingly. If you’ve met someone online in a romantic or promiscuous setting – do not send them any money no matter what they say. How to avoid this permanently? Just go ask a regular person out on a date instead.

NEVER PAY FOR SERVICES IN ADVANCE

Sometimes you may have to pay in advance to comply with “policy” terms, but make sure that the “policy” isn’t taking you for a ride. Never pay for something like a gym membership more than 2 months in advance. Paying for products in advance is fine because they usually require shipping, but make sure you’re shopping on a legitimate website with a secure payment gateway.

LOOK FOR RED FLAGS ON FACEBOOK

You’ve probably come across something like this on your endless Facebook scrolling.

Photo: BankBazaar.sg

This is obviously a scam – there are three pretty obvious indicators, did you find them all?

The link isn’t a .com or .org or anything easily recognisable.

The link mentioned in the advertisement is not of an official Ray-Ban website.

An official Ray-Ban advertisement would be worded well.

Your friend probably doesn’t type like that (no one does).

There are a lot of scams of this sort on Facebook, for everything from an iPhone to a laptops and sunglasses. Watch out for suspicious links, and report them if they look dodgy.

NEVER SEND ACROSS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

You’ve probably heard this before and seen it on a number of emails from your bank. Let’s be clear, here – your bank/insurance provider/government agency will never ask you for your personal or banking details over email.

Do not be intimidated or concerned if you receive an authoritative-looking email demanding your personal/banking information – as these are always scams. You aren’t going to receive any large inheritance and the son of the deposed king of some African nation does not need your help.

UNDERSTAND WHAT T-G-T-B-T MEANS

TGTBT means “Too Good To Be True”. If an iPad or iPhone is being sold at a third of the price, online, without any credentials – it’s could be a scam. Scammers advertise expensive electronics at cheap price points and accept only online payment. Still not suspicious enough? If you pay this amount and expect to receive anything in the mail, there’s disappointment heading your way.

It’s easy to avoid being scammed. A little common sense and a guarded attitude could save you from an empty bank account. Stay alert and keep yourself informed about new scam tactics and always stay ahead of the game. Want to know about how credit cards are working to keep you safe? Check this out.

This article was first published on BankBazaar.sg.

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