Nearly 70% of electronics e-commerce scams in 2018 involved sale of mobile phones: Police

Victims mostly fell prey to bogus offers that were advertised on e-commerce platforms and did not receive the phones after payments were made.
Victims mostly fell prey to bogus offers that were advertised on e-commerce platforms and did not receive the phones after payments were made.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Almost seven in 10 online scams that involved buying electronics in 2018 were over the sale of mobile phones, the police said on Monday (Feb 25).

In an advisory, the police said that they received at least 700 reports of e-commerce scams over purchasing electronics last year.

Of these, 68 per cent, or 476 reports, were attributed to the sale of mobile phones.

Victims mostly fell prey to bogus offers that were advertised on e-commerce platforms and did not receive the phones after payments were made.

"Scammers tend to leverage the popularity of upcoming phone releases to cheat victims who are eager to lay their hands on the latest phone models," the police said.

To guard against falling for such e-commerce scams, the police advised the public to adopt these measures:

- Be wary of online advertisements of mobile phones at cheap prices that sound too good to be true. As far as possible, purchase only from authorised sellers. If you are shopping on online platforms, read the reviews of the seller before committing to a purchase.

- Do not believe scammers who use a local bank account or provide a copy of an NRIC or driver's licence to make you think that they are genuine sellers.

- Avoid making payments or deposits in advance. If advance payments are required, use shopping platforms or arrangements that release your payment to the seller only upon receipt of the item. Alternatively, arrange to meet the seller prior to making any payment.

Members of the public can provide scam-related information by calling the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or by submitting the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Scam-related advice is also available at www.scamalert.sg