SINGAPORE - The first half of 2016 saw a marked rise in online scams, the Singapore Police Force said in a press release on Tuesday (Sept 20).
Such scams usually involve tricking victims into paying for items such as mobile phones and admission tickets to local attractions and concerts.
Police said a total of 1,145 cases of cheating involving e-commerce were reported from January to June this year - an increase of 13.4 per cent compared with the same period in 2015.
About seven out of 10 reports were made by victims using online community marketplaces like Carousell, Gumtree and Facebook for online transactions.
In most of the cases, scammers posed as online sellers and requested that the buyers make advanced payments - either as a deposit or in full - to a local bank account before the item could be delivered.
But the scammers would usually become uncontactable after payment had been made, police added.
There were also cases where fake tickets were provided to victims, who were subsequently barred from entry at the event venue.
The police have advised the public to take the following 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;
- If advanced payments are required, use shopping platforms that provide arrangements to release your payment only to the seller upon your receipt of the item;
- Be mindful that although culprits 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.