SINGAPORE: Four people have been arrested after numerous reports of scams involving face masks sold on e-commerce platform Carousell, the police said in a news release on Saturday (Mar 7), as they warned the public to be especially vigilant during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Between January and February 2020, the police received many reports from persons who were cheated by online sellers after they paid for face masks and other items on Carousell," said the police.
The sellers then became uncontactable after the customers made advance payments via bank transfers.
Two men and two women were subsequently arrested between Feb 24 and Feb 27.
A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being involved in three e-commerce scam cases amounting to at least S$55,100. He was charged on Feb 25 with cheating, and could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
The police also arrested a 19-year-old woman suspected of being involved in five e-commerce scam cases amounting to more than S$580. She was charged on Mar 2 with cheating.
A 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were arrested over at least 11 e-commerce scam cases amounting to more than S$5,000.
Police investigations are ongoing.
In total, 12 people have been arrested between Jan 1 and Feb 29 this year for e-commerce scams relating to the sale of face masks, said the police.
Eight of them have been charged for cheating-related offences, while police investigations against the other four are ongoing.
"The police take a serious view of those who take advantage of the current COVID-19 situation to perpetrate crimes," said the police.
It warned members of the public to be careful when making online purchases, "especially during this period".
Singapore on Friday reported 13 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily jump since the outbreak started in the country.
In total 130 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the first case was confirmed on Jan 23.
Most of them have since recovered, with 82 people discharged as of Friday.