A "regular customer" allegedly used PayNow transfer screenshots to fool a Joo Chiat restaurant and receive free meals over two years.
Home of Seafood, a restaurant selling Chinese seafood in Joo Chiat, alleged that it had lost more than S$4,600 due to the scam, according to 8world.
'Can't tell the screenshots are fake'
The scammer reportedly bought meals through the restaurant's online ordering service, and sent over fake PayNow transfer screenshots to falsely assure them of successful payment.
The restaurant owner, Bob, told 8world that they only discovered the scam recently, although it had been going on for a couple of years.
In total, the scammer sent 35 PayNow transfer screenshots over the two-year period.
The restaurant said that they lost S$4,619.90.
He also said that the scammer always used the same number to contact the restaurant.
However, the delivery address and the name of the person who picked up the food were different sometimes.
The 43-year-old owner also told the media that the forged screenshots looked very realistic, as the time of the screenshots and other relevant information appeared to be accurate.
He said to Lianhe Zaobao in Chinese, "We couldn't tell that the screenshots were fake at that moment."
How the scammer exploited the loophole
The restaurant told the media that customers who use its online ordering service must send a screenshot of the PayNow transfer to them via WhatsApp for verification before the orders are processed.
However, the previous accountant did not verify the payment records thoroughly, which allowed the scammer to exploit the loophole.
After the previous accountant resigned, the new accountant took over.
Upon Bob's request, she rechecked the accounts and discovered that the money from the orders had never been deposited into the restaurant's bank account.
Bob said that it is very tedious for the restaurant to log in to their bank account to verify PayNow payments for online orders.
The restaurant is also considering alternative payment methods, although the current PayNow payment method still remains intact.
He told 8world, "We cannot create inconvenience for other customers who are innocent, just because one customer decided to use PayNow to swindle us."
The restaurant has made a police report.
Police investigations are currently ongoing.
Just last month, a hawker was scammed of S$27,000 by a "customer" who tricked him into paying a "supplier" for wine.
In the same month, a couple incurred the public's wrath after they left a restaurant without paying for their S$245.60 meal.
Top image from Home of Seafood/Facebook and Shin Min Daily News/Facebook.