Singapore—In the latest example of the names or images of Singaporean officials used in perpetrating online scams, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that he has filed a police report over his photo being used to spread fake news.
On August 3, Saturday, DPM Heng put up on his Facebook account a sponsored post from an entity called ‘Well Vacation,’ which supposedly links to an article with the title, “The Nation Says Goodbye To Finance…”
The post includes Mr Heng’s photo, showing him speaking at the World Bank-Singapore Infrastructure Summit, under the caption “You can take a HUGE advantage of this program”.
Came across yet another one of these scams – while the link reproduced a Straits Times article word for word, it carries…
However, a search on the wellvacation.com site shows nothing when “Heng Swee Keat” is typed in.
But The Straits Times (ST) reports that an article on a site with the same name entitled “The Nation Says Goodbye To Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat” actually links to an article published on ST about a different topic, with a photo from the Singapore Exchange.
Mr Heng wrote, Came across yet another one of these scams – while the link reproduced a Straits Times article word for word, it carries a false headline, and the Facebook post is heavily misleading. It is obviously fake news. I have made a police report.
We have seen websites fraudulently using the names and photographs of Ministers and other prominent public personalities. Please be wary of such posts from dubious sources. Do not respond to them, especially when they ask for any personal information such as emails, passwords, or credit card information.
Anyone who suspects that an investment could be fraudulent or misused for other unlawful activities should report such cases to the Police.
I strongly urge everyone to be careful online and remain vigilant against such scams. You can learn more at www.scamalert.sg, and help spread the word for others to be better protected as well.
This is not the first time that Singaporean officials have had their name or image used in this way. Some have had fraudulent quotes even attributed to them to attract unwitting members of the public.
Last week, on July 31, the Monetary Authority (MAS) issued a warning concerning statements on a website accredited to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong encouraging people to deposit money into Bitcoin Loophole, since ESM Goh never made those statements at all.
According to MAS this is part of an ongoing cryptocurrency scheme. Moreover, this is not the first time that falsehoods concerning Singaporean leaders were used in marketing a particular product.
In the case of ESM Goh, his name is being used on the website in order to lure people into depositing S$250 into Bitcoin Loophole, purportedly a trading platform which is able to begin trading for individuals who wish to do so, in exchange for the user’s bank account or credit card details.
Mr Goh is at present Senior Advisor to MAS.
The MAS advisory read, “The website’s article on Bitcoins references statements purportedly made by ESM Goh which are either false or have been taken out of context and used in a misleading way. The site asks readers to make a minimum initial deposit of S$250 into a purported trading platform, Bitcoin Loophole, which would automatically initiate trades on one’s behalf. It also requests for credit card or bank account details.”
Last September, a similar scheme was set up with another Bitcoin website, this time using then Deputy Prime Minister and MAS Chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s name and fabricated comments, which is ironic, since Mr Tharman actually warned the public about the dangers of crypto-currencies.
In May, Singapore’s Manpower Minister Josephine Teo took to social media to warn the public of a website that falsely attributes comments to her for the purpose of getting people to disclose their financial details. -/TISG