It’s not every day that we get a decent joke straight to our phone’s inbox, especially now that our lives have just gotten a lot busier than it was five or 10 years ago. However, not everyone can spot right off a simple joke (or an honest mistake), especially when the message has something to do with words such as “kidnap,” “son,” and “daughter.”
As expected, cases of online scams have increased in Singapore, or elsewhere in the world, for that matter. It is for this reason that the Singapore Police Force has taken serious action to warn residents of any reported scam within their jurisdiction.
Netizens Cautioned Against Kidnapping ‘Threats’ via SMS
It’s quite common to find scammers taking advantage of other people’s private information (details of family members and such) to extort money or favours from their victims, as shared in an update by the Singapore Police Force.
In a Facebook post shared on Saturday, June 1, the SPF warned the public against an ongoing type of scam through SMS, which claims to have kidnapped the recipient’s “son/daughter” and demands a ransom of SGD 10,000.
The message also warns the recipient that unless they are paid the ransom, this non-gendered offspring will be murdered.
“Don’t try me,” it warns intimidatingly.
Interestingly, apart from the odd fact that the kidnappers initially didn’t seem to have any idea on the gender of their victim, it suddenly dawns on them halfway through that it is a “her”.
If this strange composition does not trigger any alarm, the Police remind the public of the following steps they need to take in such situations:
- Do not panic. Remain calm and do not reply to the SMS. Block and report the number as spam.
- Do not believe. Should you qualify in the criteria set by the message (i.e. with a son/daughter), immediately contact your loved one and confirm their safety and whereabouts.
- Do not give. Do not transfer any amount as per instructions in the SMS.
Finally, you may contact the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 to provide information related to such cases or seek scam advice via the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688.
In such cases, the key is to remain level-headed so as not to be pressured to make any rash decisions. Also, as incredulous as the message seems, it’s important to consider other potential victims who may not have the same language proficiency as yours or the elderly who are often being targeted by these types of scams, the SPF warned.