2 arrested at Changi Airport for iPhone scams on Carousell: Victims lost over $360k

A 23-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman have been arrested for their suspected involvement in a series of e-commerce scams that involve the purported sale of iPhones.

The police said they received several reports between Oct 1 and Oct 17, from victims who were purportedly cheated by an online seller who had advertised the sale of mobile devices, such as the iPhone 14 series and iPhone 13 series models, on Carousell.

The seller had allegedly failed to deliver the items after payments were made by the victims via PayNow or bank transfers.

Through follow-up investigations, officers from Commercial Affairs Department established the identities of the duo and arrested them on Wednesday (Oct 25) at Changi Airport upon their arrival in Singapore.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the pair is believed to be involved in at least 140 similar cases with reported losses amounting to more than $360,000.

The duo will be charged in court on Wednesday with engaging in a criminal conspiracy to cheat, which carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.

The police would like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when making online purchases:

  1. Purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources, especially for high-value items. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

  2. Opt for buyer protection using in-built payment options that release payment to the seller only upon delivery. Whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the seller as this method does not offer any protection.

  3. Scammers may 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. They may use a local bank account or provide a copy of a NRIC/driver’s licence to make you believe that they are genuine sellers. Do not fall for it!

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

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