Today’s Big Deals
It’s 2021 and most of us would like to think of ourselves as knowing better, and impervious to the wiles of online scams. But gone are the days where scams come in the form of Nigerian princes or photoshopped catfish. (Quick question: does the merlion count as a catfish?)
This is one catfish I am definitely falling for- just look at how cute they are!
These days, scammers are a lot more insidious, often masquerading as our friends and loved ones, or preying on our innermost desires. Recently, Ximple has spotted these exact opportunists making use of the shortage of PS5s (how dare they take advantage of our love for games). We figured if even seasoned gamers could fall for such tricks, perhaps it would be helpful to learn how to spot these scams and find out what exactly, do they steal from you. We would also like to point out that although these scams center around the PS5, similar scams featuring other products like iPhones or prize monies have appeared in the past.
Okay, last one, I promise.
There have been two types of PS5 scams going around, the Qisahn-Paynow scam and the PS5 giveaway, data-phishing scam. We will describe both here in detail.
When the staff of Qisahn started getting a slew of (exactly) SGD $952 orders for iTunes gift cards, they started to get suspicious. Before you start judging the victims, this was unlike the iTunes gift card scams of the past. Instead of tricking you into sending a code that was sent to you, this Scammer(s) got their victims to inadvertently have the codes delivered to them right from the start.
The victims were lulled in with promises of deals such as the ones pictured above. They were told to buy digital items, including gift cards, and make payment to Qisahn using PayNow. These on-the-spot transactions cannot be reversed. The victims are then hoodwinked into entering the Scammer’s email address under shipping details, which delivers the codes for the gift cards to the Scammer instead. After which, the Scammer makes off with the money without any intention of ever delivering on their promises (they probably never had a PS5 to start with either).
Any time you buy an item, unless you specifically intend for it to be a gift, the shipping details should always be your own email address, mobile number or home address from which you wish to receive the item. If a “retailer” or any 3rd party requires you to input some other details other your own under the shipping details, it is almost always a red flag. Scammers usually disguise their intent by throwing you with jargon, claiming that this is part of the procedure. Sometimes, they also ask for advanced payments or direct bank transfers in exchange for discounts or a chance to win prizes, be very cautious of these types of transactions.
This is a data-phishing scam. It may seem harmless at first, asking only that you fill in a form without making any type of payment. Indeed, it does not steal your money directly. However, it fools you into submitting your personal details, including your email and password.
If you have not seen this scam before, you may laugh and think, “I’m not so dumb as to give my details to random strangers on the internet!”
But take a look at how realistic the ads look! In fact, we showed our friends these screenshots and all of them (including professional IT experts) fell for it at first.
Can you tell if this is the real Courts official Facebook account?
They masquerade as Funan and a few others too.
Who would expect scammers to actually pay for Facebook ads and put in so much effort into the post and website?
So if the Scammers are near doppelgangers of the real thing, how are we going to spot them? Sometimes when it is too good to be true, approach with caution, a healthy amount of doubt and look out for the following 3 things.
View the comments below the posts. This is usually the most telling sign, although it also requires that you not be the first person to encounter the post (statistically unlikely). If it is a scam, kind-hearted netizens would usually have ID-ed it and posted a warning (as seen here).
Peek into the “retailer’s” Facebook page / homepage. Is this the actual, official Facebook page? When was the page created? How many followers do they have? What are their past posts?
Take a closer look at the language used, try to spot grammatical errors or weird language. 1 console for 5 winners? Win PS5 still can get FamilyMart vouchers?
As we continue to find and be aware of new scams, scammers are also constantly trying to think up new ways to fool us. Always be on alert to spot their cunning ways, and if you fall prey, there is no shame in that, make a police report and alert all your friends.
Together, we can build a safer community.