Duo arrested over 140 scam cases involving iPhones; victims allegedly lost more than $360,000

The duo were arrested on Tuesday at Changi Airport when they arrived in Singapore. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - A 23-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman have been arrested for their suspected involvement in at least 140 e-commerce scam cases involving the sale of iPhone 14 mobile phones.

The police said on Tuesday that victims lost more than $360,000.

The police added that they received multiple reports between Oct 1 and 17 from victims who were purportedly cheated by an online seller who had advertised the sale of mobile phones such as the iPhone 14 series and iPhone 13 series models on e-commerce platform Carousell.

After the victims made payments through PayNow or bank transfers, the man allegedly failed to deliver the devices.

The duo were arrested on Tuesday at Changi Airport when they arrived in Singapore.

They will be charged in court on Wednesday with cheating.

Anyone convicted can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

The police advise members of the public to purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources, especially for high-value items.

People should also opt for buyer protection by using in-built payment options that release payment to the seller only upon delivery. Where possible, they should avoid making advance payment or direct bank transfers to the seller.

Scammers could also entice buyers to contact them directly through messaging platforms such as Telegram, WhatsApp or WeChat by offering a better or faster deal if bank transfer payments are made directly to them.

To make the buyer believe they are genuine sellers, scammers may also use a local bank account or provide a copy of an NRIC or a driver’s licence.

For more information on scams, the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on such scams can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.