At least 167 victims lose more than $30k to scams involving fake offers of food items online

At least 167 people have lost more than $30,000 to e-commerce scams involving the sale of food items since Dec 22, the police said in a statement on Monday (Jan 9).

Scammers pretending to be "sellers" would entice victims by posting fake offers of food items on online platforms such as Facebook and TikTok.

Victims would then contact the sellers via Facebook messenger or embedded URL links in TikTok advertisements.

After confirming the price and order details, victims would make the payment to the seller's bank account.

In some cases, victims would be redirected to fraudulent websites where they would key in their credit/debit card details and One Time Password (OTP) to make payment for their orders.

Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when they discovered that they did not receive the goods, or unauthorised transactions have been found in their bank accounts and/or the "seller" would become uncontactable.

Stomp reported last December on a similar incident where a woman paid $85 for famous potato chips, only for the seller to go MIA.

The police advise members of the public to be discerning when shopping online especially when ordering pricey and seasonal food items including seafood, meat, alcohol and cherries through online platforms during the festive season.

Do adopt the following precautionary measures:

  • If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources;

  • 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;

  • Verify the seller’s profile through customer reviews and ratings;

  • Do not click on URL links provided on pop-up advertisements. Instead, visit the official website by typing the web address directly into the address bar of your browser to verify the validity of the promotion;

  • Always check the transaction details before approving any transactions; and

  • Report any fraudulent transaction to your bank immediately. 

If you have information relating to such crimes or if you are in doubt, you may call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at

Do call ‘999’ if you require urgent police assistance. 

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688.