A type of investment scam has appeared, the sort where you’re guaranteed to gain 0% in returns and 100% in losses.
It’s one of the most stable ways to lose your money, and don’t worry, you’ll never be able to file a complaint because your “investors” will block you before you can do anything to them.
Scammers Impersonating as GIC
On 28 April, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a warning about a new investment scam had surfaced, elaborating that people would receive a Telegram invitation to join a group chat called “Government of Singapore Investment Corporation” (GIC).
In typical scammer fashion, the people running the group chat claim that they’re from GIC, and start offering lucrative investment packages to bait their possible victims.
To make their ruse more realistic, the scammers would use the GIC logo and pretend to be investors who have successfully withdrawn the profits made from their investment packages.
Perhaps what differentiates this investment scam from the rest is that GIC is a genuine investment corporation whose transparency policies ensure that they consistently report their investment returns and movements in their newsroom. There’s plenty of material for the scammers to use to spin a convincing tale.
How The Scam Works
Those who fall for the ruse are then directed to provide their personal particulars and bank account numbers to sign up for the packages.
Afterwards, the victims will be asked to transfer money into bank accounts by the scammers.
Alas, the victims will only realise that it’s a scam when they don’t receive their expected returns – which could take weeks – or that they’re unable to withdraw their investments.
If there’s another personal guarantee from the scammer, it’s the fact that their bank accounts only have a depositing function and it’s deaf to any and all accusations.
What is the GIC?
Shortly after SPF made a Facebook post to warn the public, GIC stepped forward to clarify that it only manages Singapore’s foreign reserve and do not provide any services to the public.
It continues to write, “Please be forewarned that any attempt to solicit investment from any member of the public using GIC’s name, brand, or both, is a fraud or scam.”
GIC goes on to declare that it’s not responsible for transactions that occur as a result of such frauds or scams, which also means that they won’t be as nice as OCBC and make goodwill pay-outs for your losses.
In fact, to add salt to injury, the sovereign wealth fund reminds the public that it has already put out information a long time ago to alert members of the public to such scams (https://www.gic.com.sg/caution-against-fraud-and-scams/).
Therefore, it can’t be held accountable for any losses, because the link and information are already provided on its website, in literal black and white.
Lastly, GIC offers some well-meaning advice: if people suspect that they’re being caught up in a scam, they should always report it to their local police.
If the scam concerns GIC, please remember that GIC only has one official global website, www.gic.com.sg, where potential victims can verify the authenticity of the information they’re receiving.
I don’t know if this a subtle ploy to promote their own social media pages, but GIC states that these are its official accounts across the many platforms.
That being said, it makes it clear that GIC does not have a Tiktok, Facebook page, or Telegram channel.
Warning from the Police
In light of the deluge of scams, the police advises the public to adopt the following measures to avoid falling for scams:
Always remain vigilant against scams, which include investment packages with boasted high yields, unexpected friend requests online (no one does this these days), or requests for urgent pay transfers.
If the other party insists on payment in shopping credits or gift cards, or asks you to stuff your money between pages of a book and wrap it in aluminium (it helps avoid detection apparently), please block them immediately.
Never give out your personal particulars, one-time passwords, or bank account and credit card numbers.
It’s pertinent to stop and think before taking any action.
One of the most common tactics that scammers employ is taking advantage of vulnerability in human behaviour, like fear or greed to make their victims fall for their scams. They’re likely to constantly urge their victims to give them lesser time and space to contemplate whether their own actions are logical or not.
When in doubt, it’s always good to seek advice from family and friends before making any online transaction. If possible, you can even consult a professional or several; it’s always good to cross-reference your sources.
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