SingaporeArticles of Tharman endorsing cryptocurrency auto-trading programs are fake, Police warns

Articles of Tharman endorsing cryptocurrency auto-trading programs are fake, Police warns

Singapore Police Force is urging the public to be vigilant after fake articles appeared online about Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam advocating for cryptocurrency investments.

Police said they had recently found articles online that Tharman had supported automated trading systems for cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin system, claiming that such investments were lucrative and had little risk.

Police pointed out that the articles are often paid online advertisements disguised as news stories. They use click-bait titles to attract social media users to click, on the links in the articles to take them to another website. These sites often entice the site visitors to invest in cryptocurrencies or other financial products which may be of very high risk.

Police stressed that the content of the article was false and Tharman has not endorsed such investments. Authorities also remind the public to avoid providing personal or financial information on such sites.

The police advisory follows a similar warning issued by them last month against fake online articles featuring Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The online articles falsely claimed that Mr Lee was endorsing cryptocurrency auto-trading programs such as BitlQ. The articles claimed that such programs had generated “massive profits”.

In addition to PM Lee, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung were also recently falsely linked to products online and had put up Facebook posts to warn against them.

In May, Gan cautioned against an advertisement that falsely portrayed him as promoting a tea that claimed to stabilise blood sugar. And in April, Ong posted on Facebook warning the public to ignore doctored pictures of him endorsing medical products.

The Police advised members of the public to check and clarify any information against sources such as the Financial Institutions Directory, the Register of Representatives and the Investor Alert List on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s website, before making any investment decisions.

In February, the Police said that crime levels in Singapore rose in 2021 with reported cases up nearly 24 per cent from the year before, fuelled by a large spike in scam cases.

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Of the 46,196 reported cases in 2021, more than half – or 23,931 cases – involved scams, increasing from the year before when scams made up about 40 per cent of all cases.

These figures from 2021 also marked a 53 per cent surge from 15,651 scam cases the year before.

“Scammers have been constantly evolving their tactics and taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation to prey on the public’s increase in online activities, and also their heightened sense of vulnerability and uncertainty,” said the Police.

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As a result, Singapore’s overall crime rates also rose to 847 cases per 100,000 people in 2021, up from 656 cases per 100,000 people in 2020.

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