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  • Kyle Chua

Beware Some Ads on Social Media Could Be Scams

If you find a deal online that sounds too good to be true, it could likely be scam.

Credit Card with laptop
Credit: Pavel Vladychenko

TikToker @jamesdesigns warns that there's a new scam in Singapore that uses bogus ads to lure potential victims into downloading malware on their devices. In a video published on TikTok, he tells the story of how his friend almost lost all of her money from trying to buy fried chicken for her family.

James, who's a design consultant, explains that his friend first saw the fried chicken ad online and responded to it with her order. Someone then messaged to her on WhatsApp, letting her know that her order has been confirmed. What's more, the scammer said they were throwing in mashed potatoes and nuggets as freebies for her order. A payment link was sent to James' friend, but the transfer of funds kept failing. That's when the scammer messaged again, requesting the friend to download an app on her device. The scammer explained that she had to place her order again through that app for record purposes, which she did despite her suspicions.

After downloading and installing the app, James' friend noticed her device was flickering and that she was receiving one-time pin (OTP) messages for transactions she wasn't aware of. At that moment, she knew she was being scammed. She immediately turned off all her banking apps and contacted her banks to freeze access to all her accounts. Fortunately for her, no funds were transferred out of her accounts.

James' friend also brought her device to a repair shop to remove the installed malware. The shop suggested doing a hard reset on her device, but that proved difficult to do due to the flickering.

She later told her friends about the scam and found out that one of them had a similar experience. Instead of an ad for fried chicken, however, that friend was almost victimised by an ad for a trading platform.

James in the video warns that, as of recording, the fake ads his friend saw were still running. That's why, he says, you should be vigilant of the apps you download on your device. He notes that if they're from untrusted or unknown sources, don't download them. He adds that you should also be careful of what websites or platforms you give your personal information to, whether it's for a job application or to sign up on a trading platform.

A number of commenters on James' video also posted a couple of additional warnings. "APK apps are always a red flag," wrote on commenter. "I almost got scammed, I think, by an online car renting service. Same MO, telling me to install and order using their app," another, meanwhile, wrote.

  • TikToker @jamesdesigns warns that there's a new scam in Singapore that uses bogus ads to lure potential victims into downloading malware on their devices.

  • He says his friend almost got scammed after being pushed to download an app to order the fried chicken she saw from an ad.

  • The TikToker says that, as of recording his video, the ads were still running.

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