Victims’ phones hacked, thousands lost in scam, forged Halal certificates used | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | | #dating

The next time you’re feeling hungry and are considering ordering food from a Facebook Food & Beverage (F&B) business, take extra care — you might just fall victim to a scam. 2 netizens shared their experiences ordering from fried chicken businesses on Facebook that turned out to be fake.

Kak Mah Chicken scam

The first netizen, Ms Marlina Abbas, came forward with a Facebook post on 4 Aug 2023 warning netizens of the page Kak Mah Chicken.

According to Marlina, the following incident happened to someone close to her.

The victim had come across the Facebook page Kak Mah Chicken, a supposedly Halal-certified fried chicken business with incredibly cheap prices. The victim contacted Kak Mah Chicken via private message on Facebook or WhatsApp, and was asked to place orders through a mobile application that could not be found on Google Play or the App Store.

Instead, the scammer alleged that the application could be downloaded via a link, and sent the victim a link to an APK file.

Once the file was downloaded, the scammer was able to control the victim’s phone remotely, and could also access their bank app.

fake fried chicken scam - police report

Marlina included a screenshot of a police report in the post, which detailed what happened. According to the lodged report, after downloading the APK file, the victim received an alert from DBS that they had added an account, despite them not doing so. Later, the victim noticed that S$6,293.50 had been transferred out of their account.

At the time of writing, Kak Mah Chicken’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted.

Joylap’s Fry Kitchen scam

After Marlina’s post, another netizen, Ms Junia Tan, uploaded a Facebook post on 19 Aug 2023 detailing her experience with a similar fake fried chicken business on the social networking site.

According to Junia’s post, she had seen an ad from Joylap’s Fry Kitchen on Facebook (which was supposedly a fried chicken business), and had placed an order.

The scammer messaged Junia on WhatsApp to confirm her order, and even added 5 free mashed potatoes and 2 free small boxes of nuggets, making her believe that she was getting a fantastic deal.

Afterwards, the scammer asked Junia to place a deposit via a link he had sent, but the payment did not go through. The scammer then alleged that their website was down, and that she would need to download an app in order to place the order. When Junia asked if she could PayNow him directly instead, the scammer insisted that an order number was required.

fake fried chicken scam - joylup's fry kitchen

The scammer offered to guide Junia on how to use the app via a phone call, in which he instructed her to allow the app access to her WhatsApp and phone settings. Junia noticed that something was wrong after she checked one of her apps and noticed that it was flickering. When she raised her concerns to the scammer, he brushed her concerns aside.

At this point, alarm bells were going off for Junia, who attempted to uninstall the app, but was unable to. She also noticed that her DBS and UOB apps were flickering, with an OTP request popping up.

Junia then quickly closed both apps, ended the call with the scammer and immediately called DBS to block all transactions. She immediately went to the nearest malls to visit the bank outlets physically, where both DBS and UOB blocked all her accounts and ensured that none of her money had been transferred out of her accounts.

To be extra safe, Junia had her phone reset at a shop in order to get rid of the malware that had been installed. Afterwards, she went to the police station to lodge a report.

Both “businesses” had fake Muis Halal certificates

fake fried chicken scam - muis fake halal certificate

To make the scam even more believable, the scammers behind Kak Mah Chicken and Joylap’s Fry Kitchen forged Halal certificates from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis). Muis came out with a Facebook post on 25 Aug 2023 exposing the fake certificates, and pointed out that they both bore the signature of the previous Mufti.

Muis has since referred the matter to the Singapore Police Force, and urged Muslim consumers to verify the status of local eating establishments through their official website or the MuslimSG app Makan Places.

Innocent business caught in the crossfire

Muis also added in their post that they visited the premises stated in the fake certificates — the scammers had unfortunately used the addresses of a real business, implicating them in the whole ordeal.

fake fried chicken scam - aw's market

The addresses used on the fake certificates belong to Aw’s Market, a local butchery that sells meat products, including pork. Aw’s Market posted a statement on their Facebook page on 27 Aug 2023, explaining that they were not associated with either of the fried chicken businesses, and stated that they were in no way involved with the forged Halal certificates. Instead, the scammers had used the addresses of 5 of their outlets, causing them to be wrongly correlated with the the fake chicken businesses.

Aw’s Market has since made a police report about the situation, and urged the public to be wary of such cases.

How to avoid falling victim to such scams

Scammers have evolved since the days of fake phone calls and love scams. With increasingly creative and clever tactics emerging, it is of utmost importance that we take extra precautions to safeguard ourselves and our loved ones against scams.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from similar scams:

  • Never click on strange or suspicious links

  • Never download files from untrustworthy sources

  • Be wary of new Facebook businesses that have no reviews or internet presence — a simple search on Google should reveal if they have any real addresses listed on Google Maps

  • If you suspect that you may have been scammed, immediately contact your banks to block all transactions

  • Spread the message to your loved ones, especially those who may be more vulnerable to falling victim

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