Geneco caught in social media impersonation scam for CNY initiative

Geneco has recently been embroiled in a case of social media impersonation, as a fake Facebook page posed as the electric utility company attempted to scam its consumers. In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Alex Chan, head of marketing at Geneco said the spoofed Facebook page tapped on its recent Chinese New Year giveaway, and appeared one day after the company announced its giveaway on its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

The unverified page, which has since been removed, mentioned that Geneco is "rewarding 25 lucky winners with SG$20 Dairy Farm vouchers", along with its Geneco’s limited edition red packets. According to Chan, the information reflected the same information that it had reported on its official platforms, and individuals who were reached out by the spoofed account were notified that they were selected as that day’s winner. The spoofed account also stated that for the individuals to redeem their prize, they will have to confirm the listing on its "official site". It then got individuals to reply "READY" to the message. 

Although it is unclear how many individuals were reached out to by the spoofed account, Chan said six of its consumers alerted the team of the situation. He added that once Geneco was informed of this, it informed the individuals not to disclose any information to the unverified page or to click any links provided. The team then reported the incident to both Facebook's Help and Support Centre, as well as its designated Facebook account manager "immediately". The account manager later assisted the termination of the unverified account within the same day. 

"We note that the issue was swiftly rectified with the community’s help on flagging out this suspicious inconsistency within the same day. Geneco has also been monitoring the situation closely by checking if any suspicious activity occurred online or any other accounts created till to date across our platforms," Chan told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

Chan added that Geneco will continue to monitor for any suspicious activity and encourages its Facebook and Instagram community to stay vigilant. It reminded consumers to follow its official Facebook and Instagram platforms, which are both verified, to get updates on its activities and announcements. "Stay cautious of emails and/or other avenues asking for your personal details. These websites, emails and calls should be verified and if in doubt, you can send any queries through our official social media channels, phone number and email address, and we will get back as soon as we can," Chan said.

Social media impersonation scam has been on the rise in Singapore. Late last year, the Singapore Police Force reported that in the first five months of 2020, it received at least 1,000 reports of such scams, which chalked up to at least SG$2.2 million. Similar to what Geneco experienced, scammers would often use spoofed social media accounts to impersonate as the victims’ friends or followers on Facebook or Instagram. In the majority of these cases, the police said these scammers would trick victims into disclosing their credit card information and one-time passwords. 

Geneco's brush with social media impersonation scam came as Geneco held a giveaway for 100 sets of red packets for its consumers, as part of its bigger Chinese New Year sustainability campaign. The campaign, which runs from now until 8 March, sees Geneco encouraging consumers in Singapore to recycle their red packets. This is done by installing 31 in-store recycling bins available across 30 retail and office locations island-wide. According to Geneco. these recycling bins will be open to the public to deposit their used and excess red packets. Additionally, Geneco has partnered with four local businesses, CRU, IUIGA, REFASH, and Tay Paper Recycling, which will be tapping on their points of contact in retail and digital channel promotions to spread the green message.

“This partnership brings together local businesses to drive collective action and amplifies the conversation of sustainable change. With this, we are off to a great start in 2021 and look to forging more meaningful relationships to foster sustainable progress in society," Geneco's Chan said. This campaign is said to be Geneco's latest initiative to combat climate change and forge meaningful partnerships with more organisations, through their sphere of green influence and to power the spirit of sustainability.

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