The Police have observed a resurgence in the number of scams involving freecycling . Since May 2023, at least 360 victims have fallen prey to such scams, with total losses amounting to at least $43,000.
In this scam variant, victims would come across free giveaway offers or sale of second-hand items posted by scammers on online platforms such as Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp. These free giveaway offers or second-hand items range from bicycles to bulky kitchen appliances (e.g., washing machines or refrigerators). The victims would contact the scammers using the respective platform’s in-app messaging function. Scammers would then request the victims to pay for the selected second-hand items. Similarly, for the free giveaway items, scammers would ask victims to pay a delivery or reservation fee. Payments were made via bank transfers (e.g., PayNow) or through e-wallets (e.g., Singtel Dash or GooglePay). Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when they did not receive the items.
The Police would like to advise members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures:
- ADD - ScamShield App and set security features (e.g., enable two-factor (2FA) or multifactor authentication for banks and set transaction limits on internet banking transactions, including PayNow).
- CHECK - For scam signs with official sources (e.g. ScamShield WhatsApp bot @ https://go.gov.sg/scamshield-bot, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visit www.scamalert.sg). Avoid making payments or deposits to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals. Arrange for your own delivery where possible and always verify the profile of the user through reviews and ratings.
- TELL - Authorities, family, and friends about scams. Report the suspicious user and fraudulent posting to the platform.
If you have any 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. All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Fighting scams is a community effort. Together, we can ACT Against Scams to safeguard our community.
Conversation between the scammer and victim on Facebook ▼
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
18 September 2023 @ 4:15 PM