If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that text message you received from “ShengSiong” about winning a Huawei P30 smartphone? It ain’t real, chief.
Yesterday, the National Crime Prevention Council sounded off an alert about a scam message that has been making rounds recently, sent by a “ShengSiong”. The real Sheng Siong supermarket chain, however, has nothing to do with the “August Draw” that the message recipient was said to have taken part in.
Imagine the further confusion if you're not a Sheng Siong shopper.
The mechanics of the scam involve phishing, in which the not-so-savvy gets tricked into keying in their credit card details. Sheng Siong also stated that its mid-year lucky-draw season ended on Aug 3 and that its lucky draw winners would never be asked to fill in their personal information or credit card details via URL links.
The message includes a link to a website that’ll congratulate visitors for being one of the lucky few selected to score a free Huawei P30. The digital scratch-and-win promotion will then — surprise, surprise — reveal that, yay, you won! To make it look legit, there’ll be (fake) comments made by other (fake) winners giving (fake) thanks for (fake) prizes.
After an option to pick the handset’s colour, the target will then get a confirmation message on getting it delivered — but first, one would need to key in billing information to “make sure the information is valid and it belong [sic] to a real person”. Weird that someone would ask winners for credit card details before even asking for an address to deliver to.
Keying in one’s credit card details would immediately incur a $122 monthly fee for a subscription of some kind of “unlimited online entertainment”. There’s an option to cancel the subscription, but since this is a scam, we highly doubt it works.
Sheng Siong asserted that the whole thing is not at all endorsed by the company, urging people not to provide their credit card information in the website.
The Singapore Police Force have been ramping up efforts in educating the public about how to spot these fraudulent schemes, but seeing how online scams keep going on the up and up, it seems that folks just can’t stop falling for them.
A (non-exhaustive) list of fakes
Unfortunately for Sheng Siong, cons involving the beloved supermarket are not that rare. The chain has kept a long, ever-updating list of scams made in their name since May 2018, including multiple fake Sheng Siong Facebook accounts and dozens of phishing attempts to get targets to reveal their personal data.
Perhaps that’s not that surprising either. Regulars of the homegrown supermarket chain are typically in the older age range — the same people who might not be that internet-savvy in the first place. Plus, who wouldn’t want a free Huawei flagship phone that can still run Google apps?