168 victims scammed of $20,000 trying to buy food items like durian, wagyu beef from online platforms

At least 168 people were cheated since February while trying to buy expensive and seasonal food items online.

The police said in a statement that at least $20,000 has been lost to scammers selling food items like black gold musang king durian, wagyu beef, cherries and seafood.

They have received reports lodged against allegedly fraudulent Facebook pages such as Grocery Retail, Department Store, Juewei Food, Baihui Mall and Ocean Fishery Exchange.

Investigations are ongoing.

"The police would like to remind the public to be discerning when shopping online, especially when ordering pricey and seasonal food items," the statement said.

"Scammers pretending to be 'sellers' would entice victims by posting offers or sponsored advertisements of food items on online platforms such as Facebook.

"Victims who came across the food deals on Facebook would then contact the sellers directly via Facebook Messenger.

"After confirming the price and order details, victims were told to make payment to the seller's bank account via PayNow.

"Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when they did not receive the goods and/or the 'seller' becomes uncontactable."

Last month, a Stomper paid $100 for eight boxes of durian only for the Facebook seller to go MIA and block him.

The police advise members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures:

  • ADD - ScamShield App and set security features (e.g., enable two-factor (2FA) or multifactor authentication for banks, social media, Singpass accounts; set transaction limits on internet banking transactions, including PayNow)

  • CHECK - for scam signs with official sources (e.g., visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688). If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources and be wary of purported time-sensitive deals due to limited stocks available. Avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals and, whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the seller. Always verify the seller’s profile through customer reviews and ratings.

  • TELL - authorities, family, and friends about this scam so they do not fall forit. Report the fraudulent pages to Facebook.

Anyone with information relating to such crimes or are in doubt can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688 for more information on scams.