Branded shoes for $30? Police 'scam' shoppers at Jurong Point to raise anti-scam awareness

Staff at the booth, who said they were from a new company called Liaison, told shoppers they could buy "any brand and any size" of shoes for $30. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/BUKITBATOKNPC

SINGAPORE - Shoppers at Jurong Point thought they had scored a good deal earlier this year, when they chanced upon a roadshow selling branded shoes at a huge discount.

Staff at the booth, who said they were from a new company called Liaison, told shoppers they could buy "any brand and any size" of shoes for $30.

But after several of them paid up, it was revealed that they were part of the police's latest anti-scam efforts, much to their surprise.

Their experience was captured on video by the Bukit Batok neighbourhood police centre (NPC), which shared it on their Facebook page on Saturday (March 3).

The creative campaign drew positive responses online, with some calling it an effective way of warning shoppers to be cautious if a deal sounds too good to be true.

The video was among a series of initiatives launched on Saturday as part of the Jurong Police Division's anti-scam awareness programme.

Mr Murali Pillai, who is a Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok SMC, attended the roadshow held at West Mall.

According to the video, almost all who turned up at the booth leapt at the bargain and filled up a registration form as instructed.

The "sale" was held during a period when many shops were touting massive new year discounts.

In the video, a man who wondered if there was return policy for the shoes was told not to worry, and he was seen handing over his cash.

Another who asked if was able to skip the registration process was told: "It's only $30. You're not going to find this anywhere else."

However, he passed up on the offer.

The shoppers were then led away to a dark room, where a video on e-commerce scams was screened.

Several of them reacted with disbelief when they realised they had fallen for the "scam".

They then met with Bukit Batok NPC team leader Mohamed Fadzil Mohamed Hisum, who explained that the most number of scams in Singapore involved e-commerce transactions.

A majority of the victims were between 22 and 49 years old, he added.

Latest police figures released early this year showed that there there were 1,961 cases of e-commerce scams last year, an 8.4 per cent drop from the 2,140 reported in 2016.

Victims lost a total of $1.4 million, and the largest amount cheated in a single case last year was $60,700.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had said that despite the decrease in the number of e-commerce scams, it remains a source of concern due to the high number of reported cases.

Correction note: The earlier version of the story misstated the amount of $60,700. It has been corrected.

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