SINGAPORE: Health Minister Ong Ye Kung took to social media to warn about a new scam spreading via text message (SMS). It claims to offer people the opportunity to register for a HealthierSG Health Plan consultation.

Mr Ong explained in his Tuesday (Sept 5) Facebook and Instagram posts that the scam messages contain a link that does not start with “go.gov.sg” and the sender ID is “tellingly… a random number”.

“These are clear signs that the SMS is illegitimate,” the minister added, pointing out that official messages from MOH indicate that “MOH” is the sender and contain links that start with “go.gov.sg”.

The Ministry of Health has filed a police report regarding the scam, and the phone number that spread the messages has since been terminated.

“If you suspect that you have received a scam SMS, please do not click on any links or offer personal information. If unsure, call the MOH General Hotline at 63259220,” said Mr Ong.

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This is not the first time that Mr Ong has taken to social media to warn against scams. In April last year, he posted a warning after members of the public alerted him and his ministry that a doctored photo of his was used to endorse what purported to be a health product.

“These are all fake,” he said in posts on Instagram and Facebook.

“As a practice, MOH officials and political appointees do not endorse any medical products,” Mr Ong said, adding that the ministry is working with Facebook in Singapore to remove the unauthorised and misleading posts.

“Please be careful and not fall prey to such fake advertising,” he urged.

One of the photos online shows Mr Ong with his then Malaysian counterpart, Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, holding an envelope. The caption begins “Malaysian Orthopaedic Association” and appears to advertise a product that promises to cure “lumbar spondylopathy,” a form of arthritis, “with miraculous effect”.

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The image was taken from a March 23 Facebook post by Mr Ong, in which he and the former Malaysian Health Minister are pictured holding a book titled In This Together: Singapore’s Covid-19 Story. /TISG

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