Police warn of online bak kwa scams ahead of Chinese New Year

Victims would order bak kwa via Facebook and make payments only to have their orders fail to materialise.
Victims would order bak kwa via Facebook and make payments only to have their orders fail to materialise.ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE - Buying sweet-and-salty dried meats has turned into a sour experience for some consumers here, after their online orders failed to materialise.

The police have warned the public about online scams involving festive goods in the lead-up to Chinese New Year.

There have been scams involving the sale of "Hock Moon Hiong" bak kwa detected here, police said on Thursday (Feb 4).

Scammers would post advertisements on Facebook, claiming to sell the bak kwa in Singapore. The victims were required to place orders via Facebook and make full payment through PayNow or bank transfer.

"The victims only discovered that they have been scammed when they did not receive the bak kwa and realised that the seller had become uncontactable," said the police.

Hock Moon Hiong is a dried meats distributor based in Malaysia; it has no physical outlets in Singapore. Its official website states that all of its products are already out of stock, even though customers can still buy its bak kwa at physical outlets.

The police urged members of the public to take precautionary measures when shopping online. These include buying only from authorised and reputable sellers; checking existing customer reviews and ratings to verify sellers' profiles; and to insist on cash on delivery when purchasing from online classified advertisements.

Only meat products from approved sources can be imported or brought into Singapore, the police added.

Members of the public should report any information regarding possible scams by calling the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit information online.

To learn more about scams, the public can visit this website, or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.