"I've learnt my lesson and the public needs to know the We Chat scam may seem unusual, but (there are people) out to harm us." Other victims have fallen prey to more conventional cheating scams.

Another reason for concern: The number of online scams is on the rise.

Police said commercial crimes increased by 1,387 cases in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2014.

The scams can also include the planting of sophisticated software on computers that sucks out all personal information. SMISHING So-called "smishing", or SMS plus "phishing", is a variant that thrives on the rising popularity of smartphones.

Scammers pose as banks or credit card companies to acquire personal details. LOTTERY Unexpected prize or lottery scams usually work by asking you to pay some sort of fee to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered.

The men are asked to make a deposit, usually by remittance to a foreign account, for a hook-up online or in person. Victims send money through Money Online (MOL), an e-payment gateway for online goods and services.

Chairman of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), Mr Tan Kian Hoon, said: "Scammers are always devising new ways to cheat victims and the latest scam is a variant of the credit-for-sex scam.She said: "It seemed like a trusted page since it's from Singapore." At first, she was told the stocks were delayed.Later, the seller allegedly went "missing" and even deactivated the Facebook page."In this version, the ladies are portrayed to be from the Philippines and victims are asked to buy credits from a new platform, Money Online, or remit money to Philippines via Western Union and Moneygram." A police spokesman said the authorities are concerned because this new trend not only involves new syndicates using similar tactics as those responsible for credit-for-sex scams, but also shows that there are different syndicates in diverse regions looking for victims here.He said the new scam differed from those involving victims making advance payments to fraudsters for the purchase of goods, such as IT gadgets, phones or bicycles that are advertised on online portals.Within this category, cases like cheating involving e-commerce and credit-for-sex scams had a large increase.