Police warn of new type of e-commerce scam involving mobile phone purchases

Police warn of new type of e-commerce scam involving mobile phone purchases

A man using a laptop
A man using a laptop. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A new type of e-commerce scam has emerged after more than two dozen reports were made by victims, the Singapore Police Force said on Friday (Apr 19).

“Since November 2018, the police have received more than 25 reports where victims were unknowingly saddled with loans while they were trying to purchase mobile phones on e-commerce platforms,” police said in a news release.

The authorities said that in several instances, victims were duped into giving their personal information such as their NRIC, SingPass or bank account details, on the pretext of filing an instalment plan package for the purchase of mobile phones.

“The victims subsequently discovered that a sum of money had been deposited into their bank account, and the perpetrators then demanded the victims to pay back the loan amount with interest,” police said.

“In other instances, the victims were offered loans to purchase the mobile phones. These victims would then receive monies in their bank accounts, regardless if they had agreed to the loan offers, and were subsequently asked to make repayments.”

The police advise the public to take precautions with regard to such scams, including never giving personal information to unknown persons or to unverified sources.

“Do not provide information that is not necessary to make a purchase,” said police.

“If you suspect that you have received an unknown sum of money in your bank account, report it to the bank and the police immediately. If the unknown sum of money is still in your account, do not make any transactions with it.”

The authorities also advise the public to look into the track record and background of the company or seller before making a purchase.

“Be wary that fraud artists can appear and disappear especially on e-commerce platforms so the lack of a complaint record is no guarantee of legitimacy,” the police added.

If you wish to provide any information related to such scams, the police hotline is 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Source: CNA/rw

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