WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram emerge as platforms of choice for scammers

SINGAPORE – Meta apps WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have become the platforms of choice for scammers to lure victims.

These apps were used by scammers in 9,556 of the 22,339 – or about 43 per cent – scam cases reported between January and June, according to the mid-year scam and cybercrime statistics released by the police on Wednesday.

Scammers stole more than $334 million in the first half of 2023, and more people were victimised.

Job, phishing and e-commerce scams, and fake friend calls remain the most common scams, accounting for at least three-quarters of cases reported, said the police.

Instagram and Facebook were used in 91.7 per cent of all scam attempts perpetrated on social media, dwarfing the number of scams on TikTok and Twitter.

WhatsApp was the messaging channel used in just over 70 per cent of 6,573 scam cases on messaging platforms, followed by Telegram, which hosted 24.1 per cent of the scams.

Six in 10 of these cases involved job scams, while the others were phishing scams, investment scams and other ploys.

Facebook accounted for 68.4 per cent of scams in which a social media platform was used to contact victims.

Nearly half of these scams on Facebook were e-commerce scams, which typically ensnare victims through advertisements or impersonation.

Instagram was used in almost a quarter of all scam cases on social media.

Social media, messaging and online shopping platforms were used in roughly two-thirds of all scams between January and June.

The majority of scams on online shopping platforms – 82.2 per cent of them – were hosted on Carousell, which is among the most commonly used platform in e-commerce scams involving fake rental units and electronic goods among others, said the police.

Facebook Marketplace accounted for 14 per cent of reported scams on online shopping platforms.


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