SINGAPORE: Police have urged the public to take precautions when shopping online.
This could mean not giving out bank account numbers, credit card details and personal information, checking the sellers’ track record, or finding out more by contacting the sellers.
They also urged the public not to help those they have met online to make fund transfers, as they may be aiding and abetting a criminal in receiving the proceeds from a crime.
The advice comes after an increase in the number of reported online transaction scams.
In January and February, there were 77 reported cases, double the figure for the same period last year.
A woman who wanted to be known only as Ms Tan was shopping for a tablet last November.
She was drawn to a particular seller who offered her low prices, and she transferred $200 as a deposit to a bank account he specified.
But later, the seller told Ms Tan that she needed to order at least three tablets.
She declined to proceed with the transaction, but he refused to return her the deposit.
As Ms Tan had a copy of his identity card, she went to his house.
But the person who answered the door said he’s not the seller, adding that his identity card could have been stolen.
As Ms Tan could not reach the seller on the phone either, she decided to make a police report.
Police investigations showed that the mastermind of the scam is a person from Nigeria.
The bank account that Ms Tan had transferred funds to also belonged to another victim.
“Actually I was very angry with myself because I’ve been doing online shopping for quite a while, since a few years back, so I took for granted the security. My sister even shared with me before her own experience, but I still fell for it,” she said.