SINGAPORE: Police on Wednesday (Jul 20) warned against a new type of scam involving fake restaurant reservations, with at least five victims losing a total of S$73,500 since July.
The scam targets local food and beverage operators, who would receive calls from fake customers making reservations and asking for off-menu items to be purchased from a fake supplier, police said in a news release.
These so-called customers, whose phone numbers show the “+” prefix indicating an international incoming call, would reserve many tables and ask for expensive off-menu items.
“The victim would be provided with the contact details of a fake supplier for these off-menu items and would be informed that the items have been paid for,” police said.
“In some instances, the ‘customers’ would send a forged screenshot showing funds being transferred to the F&B operator’s bank account.”
The operators would then be instructed to contact the fake supplier, where they would make payments to order the items requested by this customer.
“Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when they discovered that they did not receive any funds from the ‘customer’, or when the off-menu items were not delivered and/or the ‘customer’ becomes uncontactable,” police said.
They advised the public to take precautions when receiving reservations from overseas customers, such as asking for a local contact to liaise with for the reservation.
They also urged F&B operators to avoid making payments or deposits in advance when dealing with new suppliers.
“Arrange to meet the supplier and pay only upon delivery of the goods,” they said, adding that operators should also search online for reviews of suppliers to establish their legitimacy before committing to a purchase.