SINGAPORE: As scammers continue to adapt and refine their tactics, Singaporeans are urged to be vigilant against deceptive practices. Recent data from the Singapore Police Force reveals that young people aged 20 to 39 increasingly fall victim to fraud and cybercrime, dispelling the myth that only the elderly are susceptible to deception.

To combat this growing issue, the police and cybersecurity experts have offered crucial advice on how to identify and prevent various types of scams.

Identifying Authentic Advertisements

In a world where even mundane items like concert tickets, mobile phones, seafood, and toilet paper can be subject to scams, traditional methods of spotting errors in advertisements are becoming less reliable due to the rise of artificial intelligence tools. Cybersecurity experts advise adopting a healthy dose of skepticism and caution, particularly when an offer seems too good to be true. Verifying the source of the advertisement and avoiding unfamiliar links is also recommended. Additionally, individuals should be cautious about ads requesting personal information.

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Recognizing Scam Calls

Scammers now employ artificial intelligence to mimic human voices in scam calls, making them sound more convincing. While it can be challenging to spot these deepfake calls, individuals can be alert to psychological tactics used by scammers, such as creating a sense of urgency or pressuring victims to act quickly. Experts advise hanging up the phone, calling a trusted family member or friend to verify the call, and reporting and blocking scam numbers.

Identifying Phishing Links

To avoid falling for phishing links, experts suggest accessing websites directly through web browsers rather than clicking on links received via messaging platforms. When clicking on links, individuals should check for spelling errors and ensure the website begins with “https” to indicate a secure connection. Suspicious or unsolicited emails and text messages, especially those from official organizations, should raise red flags. Legitimate institutions generally do not request personal information via email or text.

Additional Precautions

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To bolster defences against scams, individuals must install antivirus software and regularly update their device’s operating system. Singaporeans can also benefit from the anti-scam app ScamShield, which identifies known scam numbers in text messages and calls. Moreover, downloading apps only from trusted sources is vital to prevent malware from infiltrating devices. Some banks are taking proactive measures, limiting online banking services when potentially risky applications are detected on customers’ mobile phones.

Dealing with Malware

If individuals suspect they’ve downloaded malware, they should refrain from irrational actions like putting their phones in the microwave. Instead, experts recommend turning off wireless networks and mobile data, activating airplane mode, or switching to safe mode to disable suspicious applications. After uninstalling such applications, it’s advisable to run a mobile phone security scan to detect residual malicious viruses. Additionally, removing recent automatic backups and restoring factory settings can help eliminate malware.

Responding to Scams

If individuals believe they’ve fallen victim to a scam, they should immediately contact the police. For cases involving compromised personal and banking information, banks should be notified promptly to freeze accounts and prevent unauthorized transactions. In e-commerce scam scenarios, reporting the ad to the platform administrator is essential for removal. In cases of hacked online accounts or impersonation, alerting friends and family is crucial to prevent further scams.

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As scams continue to evolve, staying informed and cautious is the first line of defence against falling victim to these increasingly sophisticated schemes. By following these guidelines and heeding the advice of experts, Singaporeans can better protect themselves from the ever-changing landscape of fraud and cybercrime.