At least 360 people lose more than $43k to scammers listing free items online

There has been a resurgence in the number of scams involving freecycling, a green movement in which the community gives away items that are no longer needed instead of selling them or throwing them away.

The police said at least 360 victims have lost over $43,000 to such scams.

Victims would come across free giveaway offers or sale of second-hand items posted by scammers on online platforms such as Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp.

These free giveaway offers or second-hand items range from bicycles to bulky kitchen appliances, including washing machines or refrigerators.

The victims would contact the scammers using the respective platform's in-app messaging function and would then be directed to pay for the selected second-hand items.

Similarly, for the free giveaway items, scammers would ask victims to pay a delivery or reservation fee.

Payments would be made via bank transfers like PayNow or through e-wallets including Singtel Dash or GooglePay.

Victims would only realise they had been scammed when they did not receive their items.

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

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

b) CHECK - For scam signs with official sources (e.g. ScamShield WhatsApp bot @, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visit Avoid making payments or deposits to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals. Arrange for your own delivery where possible and always verify the profile of the user through reviews and ratings.

c) TELL - Authorities, family, and friends about scams. Report the suspicious user and fraudulent posting to the platform.

If you have any information relating to such crimes or if you are in doubt, call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online. All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent police assistance, dial '999'.

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