With COVID-19 bringing financial constraints to most people, scammers have now taken advantage of the pandemic to successfully exploit victims’ financial insecurities.
This year, particularly during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period, Malaysia has seen an increase in the number of financial scams recorded.
One recent scam in Singapore, involved a fake advertisement for fast food chain Pizza Hut. The fake advertisements are on Facebook and Instagram, and offer "cheap Pizza Hut deals". Victims who had clicked on the URL embedded in the advertisement were directed to a fake Pizza Hut website.
Once in, they were purportedly deceived into placing their pizza orders and requested to provide their banking details and one-time passwords (OTP) for payment. Unfortunately, most of the victims did not realise they were scammed until upon checking, discovered unauthorised transactions in their bank accounts.
Some advice from police on how to protect yourself from falling victim include:
- Being wary of URL links provided in unsolicited advertisements and text messages, especially those related to deals that seem too good to be true
- Always verifying the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources
- Never disclosing personal or internet banking details and OTP to anyone
- Reporting any fraudulent transaction involving e-payment accounts to the e-payment service provider immediately
It’s important to stay safe and alert especially during these unprecedented times. Always remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! When in doubt, it’s always best to ask!