A new scam has been cooked up by scammers, this time targeting restaurants in Singapore.
The police issued a press release on Dec. 13 to alert the public to the latest fake restaurant reservation scams during this festive season.
How the scam works
The scam works by preying on businesses to defraud them by coaxing them into transferring money to another entity and not delivering on the goods promised.
This occurs as the scammers may contact restaurants on the pretext of reserving numerous tables and request for bulk orders of off-menu items under the pretext of patronising the food and beverage operator.
These items include expensive wine and seafood.
Made to commit to purchase to secure patrons
The victim would then be provided with the contact details of a fake supplier for these off-menu items and would be informed that a deposit or payment had already been made by the “customer” to the victim’s bank account.
In some instances, the “customers” would send a forged screenshot showing funds being transferred to the F&B operator’s bank account.
Victims would then be directed to contact the fake supplier, where they would make payments to order the items requested by the “customer”.
No goods delivered
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.
The victims would also sometimes only discover they have been defrauded when the “customer” becomes uncontactable.
The police said F&B operators are advised to be cautious and avoid making payments or deposits in advance when dealing with new suppliers.
F&B operators are also urged to arrange to meet the supplier and pay only upon delivery of the goods.
They can also conduct a search online for reviews of suppliers to establish their legitimacy before committing to a purchase.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.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 at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
Top photo via Unsplash