A man in Singapore allegedly managed to cheat eager staycation-goers on Carousell of S$360,000.
The 27-year-old was arrested by police on Thursday (Jan. 21) after he was suspected of cheating a number of victims who thought that they were buying Marina Bay Sands (MBS) hotel packages at discounted prices.
Advertised discounted Marina Bay Sands hotel packages
According to a police news release, the police received several reports in January 2021 from victims who said that they were cheated by an online seller who had advertised discounted MBS hotel packages on Carousell.
However, after the victims made payments via bank transfers and PayNow or PayLah, the seller allegedly became uncontactable.
Through investigations, officers from the Commercial Affairs Department established the identity of the man and arrested him on Jan. 21.
Preliminary investigations revealed that he is allegedly involved in at least eight cases of e-commerce scams, amounting to more than S$360,000.
The man will be charged in court on Jan. 22.
The offence of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code carries a prison term of up to 10 years, as well as a fine.
"The Police take a serious view of persons who may be involved in scams and frauds, and perpetrators will be dealt with in accordance with the law," police said in the news release.
Police advice to members of public
The police advised members of the public to take the following precautions when making online purchases:
- Opt for buyer protection by using in-built payment options that release payment to the seller only upon delivery. Whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the seller.
- Scammers may entice buyers to contact them directly through messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or WeChat by offering a better or faster deal if bank transfer payments are made directly to them. They may also use a local bank account or provide a copy of a NRIC/driver’s licence to make you believe that they are genuine sellers.
- If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources, especially for high-value items.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam hotline at 1800-722-6688.
Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online.
Another unfortunate case of an MBS hotel room scam:
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Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash.