23 tricked in ZoukOut online ticket scam: Police

Last year's ZoukOut held at Sentosa's Siloso Beach. Several people have reported being cheated of their money when they tried to buy tickets online for this year's event, which will be held on Dec 9 and 10.
Last year's ZoukOut held at Sentosa's Siloso Beach. Several people have reported being cheated of their money when they tried to buy tickets online for this year's event, which will be held on Dec 9 and 10.PHOTO: ST FILE

Hoping to watch his favourite DJs in action at this year's ZoukOut, Mr Benjamin Goh scoured online marketplace Carousell in October for tickets.

The 18-year-old full-time national serviceman thought he had scored a good deal when he found a two-day festival ticket going for $140, about $70 cheaper than its original price.

He immediately paid a $40 deposit. But when it was time to meet up to collect the ticket a few weeks later, the seller became uncontactable.

"I waited for him for an hour at the meeting point. He blocked me on WhatsApp and when I tried calling his phone, he didn't pick up or was uncontactable," said Mr Goh, who made a police report on Nov 12.

Last month, at least 23 reports were made by victims who were tricked when they tried to buy ZoukOut tickets online, according to latest figures released by the police yesterday.

MISSING IN ACTION

I waited for him for an hour at the meeting point. He blocked me on WhatsApp and when I tried calling his phone, he didn't pick up or was uncontactable.

MR BENJAMIN GOH, on how the scammer avoided being contacted.

The total amount cheated was at least $3,400.

There were 1,491 online purchase scams reported from January to September.

Most victims were tricked while using online community marketplaces such as Carousell, Craigslist, Gumtree and Facebook, police said.

The scammers would ask victims for advance payments for tickets, either as a deposit or in full, to be transferred to a local bank account before the item can be delivered.

But they would then disappear.

Said Mr Goh, who has since got a resale ticket for the Dec 9 to 10 event through a friend: "It is a lesson learnt. It is always better to pay for the item when you meet up."

Police investigations are ongoing.

The police have advised the public to buy tickets from official sources and to take precautions when shopping online.

Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2016, with the headline '23 tricked in ZoukOut online ticket scam: Police'. Print Edition | Subscribe