Asia

Over 25 people scammed into getting loans since November when buying cellphones online

SINGAPORE – More than 25 people have fallen prey to a new e-commerce scam since November last year while trying to buy mobile phones online.

The victims found themselves unknowingly saddled with loans while buying the phones on e-commerce platforms, said the police, who issued an advisory on the scam on Friday (April 19).

Police said that in some instances, victims were duped into providing their personal information, such as NRIC number, SingPass or bank account details, on the pretext of filing an instalment plan package for their mobile phone purchase.

The victims later found a sum of money deposited into their bank account, with the scammers demanding for them to pay the “loan amount” back with interest.

In other instances, victims were offered loans to buy mobile phones.

Some of them would then receive a sum in their bank account, even if they had not agreed to the loan offers. They were later asked to make repayments.

In their advisory, the police urged the public not to give their personal information to strangers or unverified sources.

They should not provide information that is not necessary when making a purchase.

Those who suspect that they have received an unknown sum of money in their bank account should report it to the bank and police immediately.

They should not make transactions with the money if it is still in their account.

The public should also check the track record and background of a 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,” the police said.

To provide information about scams, call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

The public can also call the National Crime Prevention Council’s “X Ah Long”hotline on 1800-924-5664 for information about unlicensed moneylenders.

For anti-scam advice, call the National Crime Prevention Council’s helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg

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