Scammers target logistics firms in new ruse involving deposits for moving services

WhatsApp exchanges between a victim and the scammers, who pretend to be a customer. PHOTOS: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - A new scam variant has emerged, targeting logistics and moving companies, the police said on Thursday (March 24).

In March, at least 10 victims fell prey to such scammers, with losses amounting to at least $9,000, the police added in a statement.

Pretending to be a tenant in a building or mall, the scammers would contact such companies on messaging applications such as WhatsApp to engage their moving services, offering to pay in cash.

Based on screenshots provided by the police, the "items" being moved could include cabinets or office machines to be disposed of.

Once the two parties strike a deal, the scammers would provide the logistics firm with a contact number for the building management so it can obtain approval to carry out the service.

Unknown to the victim, the "building management" is part of the scam. When the victim contacts the number provided on WhatsApp, a scammer - posing as a building management staff member - would instruct the victim to pay a refundable deposit to facilitate the approval process for the moving service.

The victims, who are told to deposit the money into bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals, would realise they have been scammed only when both the "client" and "building management" become uncontactable after the deposit has been paid.

The police reminded logistics and moving companies to verify that a client is indeed a tenant in the building. They can check with the building's management through official contact details provided on its website.

They are also reminded not to transfer money to accounts belonging to unknown individuals without verification.

Those who wish to provide information related to such scams can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at this website.

For scam-related advice, they can call 1800-722-6688 or visit this website.

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