PUB embroiled in scam seeking ad support for digital media and print publication

Singapore's Public Utilities Board (PUB) has warned the public about an ongoing scam where letters were sent to PUB’s suppliers and stakeholders, seemingly endorsed by PUB’s chairman and chief executive, asking for advertising dollars to support digital media and print publication Heavy Industry Magazine (HIM). The letters are printed on PUB letterhead, and claims that PUB is working with HIM on an editorial feature. 

The letter called for businesses to support the editorial feature by advertising their own products, skills, and capabilities alongside PUB within the pages of its supposed article. "We believe that this is an effective way to promote ourselves and increase your exposure, and therefore your support for this article will be highly appreciated," it added.

In its Facebook post, PUB clarified that the letters and emails are not sent by the board and PUB has since lodged a police complaint. "PUB does not send letters/emails to solicit for advertising. We have made a police report and would like to urge the public and businesses to exercise caution to avoid falling prey to such scams. If you received a suspicious email, please contact us via the link below to verify the authenticity of the email," PUB said in its Facebook post.

Marketing has reached out to HIM for a statement.

pub scam

Such scams are not uncommon in Singapore. Last year in May, a scam ad featuring billionaire Peter Lim was spotted on a Carousell listing that promoted a “new secret investment”. On a news report by The Straits Times, it said the listing included screenshots of a fake article on its platform and included other logos of other Singapore Press Holdings’ publications such as The New Paper and The Business Times under “as seen on”.

In a similar incident in Malaysia last month, digital equities trading platform Rakuten Trade lodged a report with the Malaysian police and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on individuals and companies that have misused the name and falsely represented the company in various online investment scams. The spokesperson told Marketing that the public is advised not to entertain such claims as these are fake, and Rakuten Trade has no affiliation with these unauthorised parties.

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