Singapore women receive fraudulent messages claiming their photos are circulating online

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SINGAPORE, February 6 (The Straits Times/ANN): When she received an Instagram message informing her that her photos and personal information were being shared on a private Telegram group, Glennice Tong became concerned.

The Instagram user, who appeared to be female, warned Tong that the group was a “remake” of the now defunct Telegram group SG Nasi Lemak, where lewd photos and videos of women were shared.

The 22-year-old student told The Sunday Times (ST) she had taken no such footage.

She said, “The idea of ​​there being another chat group like SG Nasi Lemak, and the idea of ​​my photos on it and maybe more girls getting hurt because of it was terrifying.”

The SG Nasi Lemak group on Telegram had 44,000 members at its peak.

One of its administrators was jailed and fined last year, while another man was given a compulsory treatment order. Two young people were put on probation.

Tong said the woman seemed friendly and claimed she had already reported the chat group on her behalf, and suggested she do the same.

Tong asked for more information and then received a link to join the group.

Speaking to ST on January 27, the same day she received the messages, Tong said she became suspicious when the person claimed that in addition to photos there were screenshots of conversations between her and a man.

Tong added, “When she sent me a sketchy link to join the group, I knew it was a scam.”

The link took her to what appeared to be the Facebook login page which required her to enter her phone number and then an OTP that would be sent to her number.

Tong did not fill in his details and made a police report less than an hour later.

Police confirmed that a report had been filed.

Tong said, “These scams are really scary because a lot of girls are genuinely worried about their photos being leaked. They can do anything to take them down.”

Tong also posted a video on TikTok warning young women to beware of these scams.

Reiane Ng, 19, has been the victim of such scams twice in the past three months.

The polytechnic student said she received a message on Facebook in late November telling her that her private information, including her address, was being shared on a private Facebook forum page.

Ng was told to enter his email address and password on what appeared to be a Facebook login page. friends on Instagram so you don’t fall for the trap.”

Ng encountered a similar scam on January 21 when she was told on Instagram that there was a private forum on Facebook sharing nude photos of Singaporean girls, including her own.

She said: “I was scared but also suspicious as she said there were mirror photos of me circulating even though I hadn’t taken such photos. She also said she had reported the band for me, which made it seem like she was looking out for me.”

When Ng saw the link, she knew it was a scam because the URL included random strings of letters and symbols. Ms Ng did not make a police report, but warned her friends on social media about the posts.

Three other women also commented on social media that they had received similar messages.

Dr. Annabelle Chow, senior clinical psychologist at Annabelle Psychology, said such scams are painstakingly designed to spur victims into urgent action.

She said: “Scammers are getting more creative. They prey on women’s fears that their photos will spread across different platforms.”

Dr Chow added that when scammers say they reported the chat group, it triggers a positive response from the victim, who will likely trust them.

She said: “There’s a lot of emotional manipulation involved.”

Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, said such scams are likely to be a complex case of phishing.

Yeo said cybercriminals hope to instill panic and fear to trick people into providing confidential information by urging them to respond quickly or issuing ultimatums.

He advised users to resist the pressure to act immediately in such situations.

Yeo said, “Even if a message is from someone you know, remember that their accounts can also be hacked. Always treat links and attachments with great care.”

In a notice posted online, police said users should never enter sensitive information into pop-ups from emails or websites and never download or open attachments in emails. emails from unknown sources.

Users should also never feel pressured to reveal personal information online.

Those with information related to such crimes can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at the iWitness website.

The public can also visit the Scam Alert website or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. – The Straits Times/ANN

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