Man pays $120 for iPhone but finds weights in box: Ninja Van warns of cash-on-delivery scams

Submitted by Stomper Anonymous

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A man's excitement at receiving an iPhone he had bought on Facebook Marketplace quickly turned to devastation when he opened the box to find only weights inside.

The Stomper told Stomp he had come across the listing on Oct 1.

He thought he could collect the iPhone that night in Singapore but was surprised when the seller said the iPhone would take 10 to 13 days to ship from the United Kingdom.

He then asked how he would pay and the seller said cash-on-delivery (COD), to which he agreed.

On Oct 10, the so-called iPhone was delivered to him via Ninja Van and he paid the delivery man $120.

It was only afterward when he opened the package did he find weights instead of an iPhone.

The Stomper said he immediately called Ninja Van and was told he needed to wait three days for the seller to refund his money.

However, when he followed up on the matter on Oct 12, he was told that the seller had instructed Ninja Van not to refund his money.

He confronted the seller regarding this and received a message the next day from a number with a +44 country code from the United Kingdom.

The Stomper said: "The seller said, 'I'll handle it' but until now, nothing has happened." 

When Stomp reached out to Ninja Van regarding the matter, a spokesman said it sounded like a COD scam.

"With the surge in e-commerce, COD scam tactic is becoming more common and frequent," the spokesman said.

"How COD scam parcels work is that freight forwarders will consolidate parcels from various overseas shippers, including those from unscrupulous scammers.

"Ninja Van performs the last-mile delivery by informing customers about upcoming parcel deliveries and collecting the cash on our freight forwarders' behalf.

"The average consumer tends to associate us with the perpetrators as we're the last point of contact covering the last-mile delivery and collecting cash from the customers."

Ninja Van is working with the authorities on educating members of the public on such COD scams.

"It is heavily in our interest to promote consumer awareness of COD scams," the spokesman said.

"We've worked closely with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on various educational initiatives.

"Around 500,000 flyers are printed for distribution this year, with one of the key focus on dormitory areas.

"Our statistics revealed that 60 per cent of COD parcels go to migrant workers' dormitories.

"Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has also lent its support by translating the flyer into several native languages, like Bahasa Melayu and Burmese, to make the material more accessible to migrant workers.

"The translated e-flyers were also disseminated through MOM's internal network of community partners and non-government organizations (NGOs), such as the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE)."

Read Ninja Van's advisory on COD scams here.