Singapore smartphone users are being told to buy iTunes gift cards on behalf of fraudsters who pose as their friends on the popular Line messaging app, in the latest online scam revealed by police today.
Having received 33 such reports since last month, the authorities have now sent out an alert to warn users not to fall for the ruse, which has been used previously.
It usually begins when a scam artist manages to gain access to the Line account of a victim. He then pretends to be the victim and starts sending messages to friends on the contact list, telling them to buy him iTunes gift cards and send him the redemption codes for buying songs and other items online.
By the time the victim and his friends get in touch, the value in the gift cards would have been fully used up.
Police have advised users to always check the identify of someone asking to buy an item on his behalf. They also suggested that users protect their mobile devices by using strong passwords and adding security software to keep out intruders.
Like other online scams, such as the by-now-famous Nigerian scams, the Line and iTunes fraud has gone global.
Last month, it irked a Japanese writer from the popular Rocketnews website so much that he decided to troll the fraudster over an extended exchange of messages. The story went viral online afterwards.
One word of warning, though, in case you are thinking of fighting back – avoid showing your face to a cyber criminal. Best advice against any scam artist is usually to just ignore them.