SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force issued a warning on Tuesday (30 April) concerning a type of scam involving fake job posts on the social media platform Facebook.

After pursuing these listings, victims would find their WhatsApp accounts compromised, according to a CNA report.

The police said that the modus of the new scam variant works this way: “Victims would come across attractive job listings on Facebook and contact the WhatsApp contact number provided.”

Afterwards, they will be given an Android Package Kit (APK) file via WhatsApp to download and obtain their particulars. However, these APK files contained malware, allowing the fraudsters to even obtain data from the victims’ mobile phones.

Upon downloading the APK file and installing the malware on their devices, the mobile phones would appear to turn off, or users would lose control of them.

Upon getting access to their devices again, the users would find out that they could no longer access their WhatsApp accounts, with some even finding out that the app itself had been deleted.

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Unbeknownst to them, scammers would contact the people on the mobile phone contact list, impersonating the victims to borrow money.

As an added layer of protection, the police have urged everyone to activate the two-step verification feature when they use WhatsApp.

They also cautioned app users to be careful when they receive unusual requests, even if they come from people in their contacts list.

The police added that people should only download apps from official sources, including Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store, and they should also make sure that they have updated anti-virus software and malware removal tools.

It is also the most secure for everyone’s operating systems and applications to be updated to their latest versions, as this provides the best security.

Individuals who believe they may have fallen for this scam should follow the following steps.

  1. Switch your phone to flight mode.
  2. Turn the Wi-Fi off.
  3. Run the virus scan.
  4. Check for unauthorised transactions on bank or Singpass accounts from other devices. If so, a police report should be filed.
  5. Other options for further protection would be to change important passwords and do a factory reset on the phone.
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Scammers have been using APKs to perpetrate fraud for some time now. In one such instance last June, the police said two scam victims had lost S$99,800 in CPF savings after downloading malware-infested apps via fake Facebook ads.

Earlier this year, victims lost S$167,000 from downloading malicious Android Package Kit when they clicked on ads on Facebook or Instagram selling Chinese New Year goodies. /TISG

Read also: Two scam victims lost $99,800 in CPF savings after downloading malware-infested apps via fake Facebook ads