S'pore police warn about Facebook scams selling new highly sought after phones below retail prices

Anyone with information on such scams can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000.

Alfie Kwa | October 15, 2021, 03:06 PM

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The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued an advisory after at least 20 victims have fallen prey to scammers who posted fake Facebook advertisements since September 2021 following the sale of newly released phones that resemble the latest iPhones.

Victims of scam

The SPF said victims came across social media posts or Facebook advertisements promoting the sale of these newly released electronic devices, priced below the recommended retail price.

In an example provided, the SPF showed screen shots of Facebook advertisements one might see.

The fake offer displays the device being sold along with deals like "unlimited internet call" and "S$5/month" plans.

Image via SPF.

The victims would then click on these posts that would redirect them to the sellers via the in-app messenger or WhatsApp.

During their conversation, the sellers would claim that there were limited stocks and would request for the victims to make an upfront payment or to place a deposit before the delivery of the electronic device.

Thereafter, victims would transfer the money to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals.

The victims only realised they've been scammed when they do not receive the item as promised and the seller becomes uncontactable.

Precautionary measures

"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," SPF said.

The police advised members of the public to be wary of purported time-sensitive deals due to limited stocks available and avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals.

They should instead 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 as this method does not offer any protection.

In these situations, it is important to verify the seller’s profile on online marketplaces through customer reviews and ratings.

If any member of the public has information related to such crimes or are in doubt, they can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online.

Otherwise, seek scam-related advice by visiting this website or calling the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688.

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Top images via SPF.