Unknown number calling in the middle of the night. Phone call from stranger. Person holding mobile and smartphone home late (Photo by Tero Vesalainen from Shutterstock.com)

Police advisory on emergence of new variant of scam on e-commerce platforms

A new variant of scams on e-commerce platforms emerged with more than 25 cases reported since November 2018.

The Police said that the victims were unknowingly saddled with loans while they were trying to purchase mobile phones on e-commerce platforms.

In some instances, the victims were deceived into providing their personal information such as NRIC, SingPass or bank account details, on the pretext of filing an instalment plan package for the purchase of mobile phones. The victims subsequently discovered that a sum of money had been deposited into their bank account, and the perpetrators then demanded the victims to pay back the loan amount with interest.

In other instances, the victims were offered loans to purchase the mobile phones. These victims would then receive monies in their bank accounts, regardless if they had agreed to the loan offers, and were subsequently asked to make repayments.

The police advised members of the public to take the following precautions with regard to such scams:

  • Never give your personal information such as NRIC, SingPass or bank account details to anyone you do not know or to unverified sources. Do not provide information that is not necessary to make a purchase.
  • If you suspect that you have received an unknown sum of money in your bank account, report it to the bank and the Police immediately. If the unknown sum of money is still in your account, do not make any transactions with it.
  • Check out the track record and background of the company or seller before making a purchase. Be wary that fraud artists can appear and disappear especially on e-commerce platforms so the lack of a complaint record is no guarantee of legitimacy.

If members of the public wish to provide any information related to such scams, they can call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If they require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

Members of the public can also call the National Crime Prevention Council’s ‘X Ah Long’ Hotline at 1800–924–5664 if you have any information pertaining to unlicensed moneylenders. To seek scam-related advice, you can call the National Crime Prevention Council’s anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.