SINGAPORE - 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 paid a $40 deposit immediately. 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 it would be unavailable," said Mr Goh, who then made a police report on Nov 12.
In November, at least 23 reports were made by victims who were tricked into paying for ZoukOut tickets online, according to latest figures released by the police on Dec 1. The total amount cheated was $3,400.
These cases involving sale of tickets online are among the 1,491 online purchase scams reported from January to September this year.
Most victims were tricked while using online community marketplaces such as Carousell, Craigslist, Gumtree and Facebook, police said.
The scammers would ask victims for advanced 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 these scammers would disappear soon after.
Said Mr Goh, who has since got a resale ticket 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 has advised the public to buy tickets from official sources and to take these precautions when shopping online:
- Bear in mind that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Before performing a transaction, find out how the online site safeguards your interest or can help you resolve disputes.
- Whenever possible, pay only on delivery of the item.
- If advanced payments are required, use shopping platforms that provide arrangements to only release your payment to the seller upon your receipt of the item; and
- Be mindful that although scammers may provide a copy of an Identification Card or Driver's licence to gain your trust, it may not necessarily belong to the person communicating with you online.
Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.