SINGAPORE – Fake news articles using Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s name to promote investments in bitcoin have surfaced online.
At least three Facebook posts this month link Mr Heng to fake reports that mislead people into thinking these are investments with high returns, said the police on Wednesday (April 29).
Mr Heng confirmed in a Facebook post that the posts using his name and image to promote the dubious investment schemes are “definitely untrue” and “most certainly not endorsed” by him.
He urged people to be vigilant, and to not fall for scams or phishing attempts, especially those that attempt to impersonate government officials and ask for personal information.
The fake news articles, which are in fact paid online advertisements, lure users to click on links to a different website offering investments in cryptocurrency and other financial products, or both.
Users are then prompted to provide their contact details, which will be followed up with a call promoting these investments.
Those who decide to invest are instructed to transfer money to an overseas bank account or make payments using their credit card.
This is not the first scam to use a prominent figure to entice users. Last year, similarly fabricated reports promoting investments in cryptocurrency circulated on the Internet which were attributed to high-profile public figures such as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore billionaire Lim Oon Kuin.
The news reports, which included fabricated comments and claims, were designed to look like they were linked to Singapore Press Holdings.
The police said people should verify the authenticity of such articles, which are often made to resemble real articles published by official news or media outlets.
They also said bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and are not regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.They are not issued by any government or backed by any assets or issuers. Those attracted to invest in such currencies stand to lose their capital, the police said.
To seek advice about scams, the public should call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to this website.
Those who have information on fraudulent activities can call the police hotline at 1800-255-000 or submit information online here.
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