Two teens arrested over e-commerce scams

Police say victims cheated of over $9,800 in online sales of face masks, among other items

Two teenagers have been arrested for allegedly cheating victims of more than $9,800 in e-commerce scams involving the sale of face masks and Universal Studios Singapore tickets on online marketplace Carousell.

The boys, aged 17 and 18, were arrested on March 2 and March 3, the police said in a statement on Saturday.

In January and February this year, the police received multiple reports from people who said they were cheated by online sellers after they had paid for their items on Carousell.

The customers could not contact the sellers after making payment in advance via bank transfers.

Preliminary investigations showed that the duo are suspected to be involved in at least 50 cases of e-commerce scams.

The 17-year-old was charged in court on March 4 with cheating, which carries a fine and jail term of up to 10 years.

Police investigations against the 18-year-old are ongoing.

The police advised members of the public to be careful when making online purchases, adding that they take a serious view of those who take advantage of the current coronavirus situation to perpetrate crimes.

Shoppers should also be rational when considering purchases and not buy items on impulse, the police said, noting that scammers might use a local bank account or provide a copy of an NRIC or driver's licence to appear genuine.

Members of the public should not fall for this, and should also avoid making payments or deposits in advance. They should use shopping platforms and arrangements that release their payments to the seller only upon receipt of the items, and buy only from reputable websites and platforms, the police said.

For more information on scams, visit the anti-scam website at www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.

To provide information on scams, call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

All information will be kept strictly confidential, said the police.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2020, with the headline 'Two teens arrested over e-commerce scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe