Police warn of online scams on merit-making websites


Public told to be extra vigilant if choosing to visit online merit-making sites and refrain from clicking on suspect links

Buddhist devotees planning to make merit online on Visakha Bucha Day have been warned of scammers who are out to steal users’ personal information.

Today (May 22) is Visakha Bucha Day, also known as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day, which commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing. 

On this day, Buddhists go to local temples to give alms to monks, listen to sermons, and take part in a candle-lit circumambulation ceremony.

The Central Investigation Bureau on Tuesday warned on Facebook that several websites are offering online merit-making channels for people who are unable to go to the temple and warned those who choose to visit such sites not to input such personal information as ID card number, bank account and telephone number.

“Please refrain from clicking on unknown links sent via SMS or messaging applications inviting you to make merit online,” police warned. “Also, avoid installing applications from unknown publishers.”

The bureau urged people to double-check the recipient’s name and account number before they transfer money as donations to temples or charitable organisations.

To report online scammers and cybercrimes, contact the Anti-Online Scam Operations Centre (AOC) at 1441. Users can also ask officials to freeze bank accounts suspected of being compromised or belonging to scammers via this number.