CNY 2024: Beware of these Chinese New Year scams!

As Chinese families come together to celebrate the vibrant Chinese New Year (CNY), there's an unwelcome surge in the shadows: cyber scams. As we busy ourselves sprucing up the home and buying new clothes and goodies, this festive period has unfortunately become a prime time for cybercriminals to strike – preying especially on those who are looking for good deals online.  

Scammers are exploiting the festive atmosphere to target unsuspecting victims through two main channels: 

1. Online marketplace scams: scammers pose as fake buyers and/ or sellers 

Many CNY traditions revolve around buying new things. For instance, it is good luck to kick off the year with new clothes as it symbolises a fresh beginning. Many households also stock up on groceries for reunion dinners and CNY goodies for hosting guests at home.  

Once upon a time, we used to spend the weekends before CNY going to malls and markets to pick up these things. However, with the convenience of online shopping, all these are at the tip of our fingers, just a click away on our phones.  

How it works:  

Capitalising on this new shopping behaviour, scammers have started posing as sellers and/ or buyers on popular e-commerce sites and marketplaces.  

As a “seller”, scammers post fake advertisements with too-good-to-be-true deals, hoping to lure in bargain hunters. As a “buyer”, scammers pretend to interested in their victims’ sales listings.  

Once in contact with the victims, scammers will then send a link or QR code that leads to a phishing site or prompt you to download a malware app. Both of these phishing and malware attacks are designed to steal your banking credentials. 

2. Phishing SMS attacks: scammers impersonate DBS (or other entities) to send phishing SMSes 

With online shopping, payment is usually made electronically, either through card payment or bank transfer. Typically, there is some sort of confirmation or notification from the bank after a transaction has gone through.  

Due to the increased volume of transactions, scammers are trying their luck by sending out phishing SMSes, posing as banks (and other entities).  

How it works:  

Scammers send out phishing SMSes – designed to look like it’s coming from a bank (or other entities). Within the text message there would be an embedded link, leading you to fake banking page. Beware – these scam replica pages can look very similar to the legitimate ones, so look closely for red flags like spelling and grammatical errors.

You should also double check the page's URL. DBS' official website is

These fake pages often have forms for you to enter your banking credentials (under the guise of accepting or making payment). Do not enter your information!  

Anti-scam tips for staying cyber safe this CNY 2024 

Nothing dampens the festive mood quite like becoming the victim of a scam, so remember to stay vigilant. Here are some tips to keep in mind:  

  1. Be wary of attractive deals online and suspicious buyers and/ or sellers who reach out to you.  

  1. Be wary of strange payment methods, especially those that involve clicking a link or downloading an app.  

  1. Do not click on links and scan QR codes, and if they lead to a supposed “payment page”, do not enter your credentials.  

  1. Do not download any application from anywhere except official apps stores (Google Play store and Apple App store). 

  1. Always double-check the URL of banking sites – DBS’ official website is

  1. Do not disclose your banking credentials and/ or one-time password (OTP) to anyone.  

Remember, DBS will never send you SMSes with clickable links and/ or QR codes. If you suspect you have fallen prey to a scam or that your device and/ or banking account is compromised, call us immediately (1800-339-6963 or 6339-6963) or visit our Quick Links for Self-Service page.  

For more information on the latest scams in Singapore, visit #BSHARP by DBS or ScamAlert Singapore by National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)

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