4 people arrested for running mask scams online

4 people arrested for running mask scams online

A person works on a production line for prototype face masks at Mask Factory, following the outbrea
A person works on a production line for prototype face masks at Mask Factory, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Hong Kong, China Feb 19, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

SINGAPORE: Four people were arrested for their suspected involvement in separate online scams involving the sale of face masks, said police on Saturday (Feb 22). 

The scams took plan on various e-commerce platforms such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Carousell, WhatsApp and Telegram. 

Police said they had received many reports between Jan 2 and Feb 19 from victims who had been cheated by online sellers after paying for online masks. 

"The sellers became uncontactable after payments were made via bank transfers," said police in the media release. 

READ: Five people arrested, suspected of running face mask scams on Carousell

Through investigations and by working with banks and the e-commerce platforms, the police arrested four suspects. 

One of the suspects was a 24-year-old woman who is believed to be involved in about 40 cases of scams amounting to more than S$11,000. 

Her victims responded to an advertisement on Facebook Marketplace for face masks, and were subsequently directed to communicate on WhatsApp to arrange for advance payments through bank transfers. 

Another suspect, a 22-year-old man, is believed to be involved in at least 10 cases of scams amounting to more than S$8,000. He advertised the masks and concert tickets on a Telegram group chat "SG free MarketPlace" and on Carousell.

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READ: Man charged with cheating 4 people of S$10,000 for masks, using proceeds to buy pawn shop items

The third suspect was a 37-year-old man who was arrested on Thursday, said police. He is believed to be involved in at least 200 online scams amounting to more than S$90,000. 

He advertised face masks, hand sanitisers and thermometers on Carousell, where his victims were directed to make advance payments through bank transfers.

The fourth suspect was a 15-year-old who is believed to be involved in more than five online scam cases.

Advertising face masks, skincare products and hotel staycation packages on Gumtree and Carousell, he cheated his victims of more than S$16,300. 

They were also instructed to make payment through bank transfers. 

Police advised members of the public to be careful when making online purchases, especially during amid the COVID-19 situation in Singapore. 

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Source: CNA/ad(mn)

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