The Police would like to remind the public to be discerning when shopping online, especially when ordering pricey and seasonal food items (e.g. seafood, meat, alcohol, cherries) through online platforms during the festive season. Since December 2022, at least 167 victims have fallen prey to e-commerce scams involving sale of food items, with total losses amounting to at least $30,000.
Scammers pretending to be “sellers” would entice victims by posting fake offers of food items on online platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. Victims would then contact the sellers via Facebook messenger or embedded URL links in the TikTok advertisements. After confirming the price and order details, victims would make the payment to the seller’s bank account. In some cases, victims would be redirected to fraudulent websites, where they would key in their credit/debit card details and One Time Password (OTP) to make payment for the orders. Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when they discovered that they did not receive the goods, or unauthorised transactions have been found in their bank accounts or credit cards and/or the “seller” becomes uncontactable.
The Police would like to advise members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures:
- If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources;
- Be wary of purported time-sensitive deals due to limited stocks available;
- Avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals and, whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the seller;
- Verify the seller’s profile through customer reviews and ratings;
- Do not click on URL links provided on pop-up advertisements. Instead, visit the official website by typing the web address directly into the address bar of your browser to verify the validity of the promotion;
- Always check the transaction details before approving any transactions; and
- Report any fraudulent transaction to your bank immediately.
If you have information relating to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Please call ‘999’ if you require urgent Police assistance.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Join the ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victim.
Example of a “seller” on Facebook offering sale of food items:
Example of a conversation with a “seller” on Facebook messenger:
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
09 January 2023 @ 11:32 AM