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Teen gets reformative training for exploiting loophole to cheat ComfortDelGro out of 117 cab rides

Teen gets reformative training for exploiting loophole to cheat ComfortDelGro out of 117 cab rides

A person using the ComfortDelGro taxi booking app. (File photo: ComfortDelGro)

SINGAPORE: An 18-year-old was sentenced on Tuesday (Oct 27) to a year's detention in a reformative training centre for exploiting a mobile application loophole to cheat ComfortDelGro out of 117 cab rides worth S$2,600.

The teen, who cannot be named under the Children and Young Persons Act as he was under 18 at the time of the crime, had reoffended while on probation for other offences including theft. 

He pleaded guilty last month to one charge of performing a computer function to commit an offence of cheating, and was found suitable for rehabilitation in a reformative training centre.

He downloaded the ComfortDelGro taxi booking mobile app on Oct 29 last year and created an account, linking his debit card to the NETS Click payment method to book a ride.

He later realised that he was able to get a cab ride for free if he booked the ride while he had sufficient funds in his debit card and used the same card to buy items while waiting for the cab, leaving him with insufficient funds for the ride fare deduction.

He tested this by booking another ride before transferring money out of his bank, and the fare was again not deducted from his account due to insufficient funds.

The teen used this loophole to earn a profit, advertising cheap taxi rides on Telegram group chat SG Hitch, offering rides that were cheaper than shown in the ComfortDelGro app.

When he took money from his "clients", no money was deducted from his account for the rides through the method he used, but ComfortDelGro incurred the losses instead.

By using multiple fictitious accounts to use the loophole, the teen booked 117 cab rides for himself, his friends and his "clients".

ComfortDelGro incurred a loss of S$2,598.60 for the rides and lodged a police report after a bank alerted it to fraudulent transactions.

The cab company previously told CNA that it helped with police investigations and has since taken measures to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.

For his computer crime, the teen could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$50,000 or both.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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