Man arrested for cheating victims of over $8,000 through online classifieds

SINGAPORE - A 24-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly cheating victims of more than $8,000 through online classifieds, said the police on Thursday (July 5).

Since February this year, the police have received "multiple reports" from victims who had responded to online advertisement selling items such as Universal Studios Singapore tickets, concert tickets and gift vouchers on online classifieds Carousell and Gumtree.

The victims made payments ranging from $75 to $1,150 to bank accounts provided by the man, but did not receive the items, said police in a statement.

After investigations, officers from the Jurong Police Division identified the man and arrested him on Wednesday.

If found guilty of cheating, he may be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

The police advised the public to take precautions when shopping online, including:

* Purchasing tickets only from authorised sellers, and to take note of the terms and conditions of the ticket sale. If making purchases through online classifieds, be wary of people selling items for prices that sound too good to be true. Check the company or seller's track record by reading reviews or contacting previous customers.

* Scammers may use a local bank account for the transaction or provide a copy of an NRIC or driver's licence to enhance their credibility. Bear in mind that these may not necessarily belong to the person communicating with you online. You may check the validity of a NRIC on ICA's iEnquiry portal at https://ienquiry.ica.gov.sg/mobile/vCheck.do. Do not continue to deal with the party if the NRIC is invalid.

* Avoid making payments or deposits in advance. Remember that the party you are dealing with is a stranger. Reduce your risks by arranging for physical meet-ups and pay only on delivery. 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.