SINGAPORE, Feb 8 — One man and three women aged between 18 and 27 were arrested following a recent spate of e-commerce scams that involved the fake sale of concert tickets, affecting at least 583 victims who lost around S$223,000 (RM789,243) since January this year.

In a press release today, the police said that the scams involved tickets to recent concerts such as those by Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Japanese pop duo Yoasobi, Chinese singer-songwriter Joker Xue, and K-pop boy band Enhypen.

The victims would only realise that they had been duped when the scammers become uncontactable, while others only found out when their tickets turned out to be invalid on the day of the concert.

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The four persons who were arrested allegedly helped these scammers by providing them with the means for scammers to open false bank accounts as well as mobile lines in exchange for monetary gains.

Another seven men and four women, including a 15-year-old male teenager, are also assisting in investigations.

The one-week joint operation was conducted between January 31 and February 6, 2024 by the seven police land divisions, Commercial Affairs Department, Carousell and the Government Technology Agency.

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Modus operandi

Describing how the scammers typically operated, the police said they would pretend to be ticket sellers on online platforms such as Telegram, Carousell, Twitter, Facebook and Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu.

Victims who expressed interest to purchase the tickets would be redirected to contact the scammers on WhatsApp, Telegram or WeChat.

In some cases, the scammers provided fake screenshots or videos of the tickets and the ticket purchase receipts.

The scammers would promise to email the tickets or transfer tickets to the victims’ Ticketmaster accounts once the payment was successful. Ticketmaster is an online ticket sales platform that had sold tickets for several recent concerts in Singapore.

Said the police: “Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when the sellers asked for additional payments, delayed delivery of tickets, become uncontactable, or when the tickets were found to be invalid on the concert day.”

Relinquished their Singpass credentials to scammers

Initial investigations by the police revealed that the four persons had allegedly facilitated the scam cases by opening new bank accounts and relinquishing them to the scammers, or relinquishing their Singpass credentials, and bank accounts or their internet banking credentials. They purportedly did so for monetary gain.

“The relinquished Singpass credentials were misused by the scammers to open new bank accounts and mobile lines.

“The Singpass credentials and mobile lines were then further exploited by the scammers to open Carousell accounts to make the fake concert tickets listings,” said the police.

The other 11 persons who are assisting with investigations had “unwittingly” facilitated the scams through various ways, according to preliminary investigations.

The police said: “Most of them took on job offers on Telegram, to receive money in their bank accounts to buy Razer gift cards or to facilitate the receipt and transfer of money through their bank accounts.”

One 21-year-old woman was asked to change her Carousell account moniker and email address. The account was found to be taken over by the scammers, said the police.

Police also said another 15-year-old teen had given his Carousell account to a scammers who had offered to top-up its in-app wallet.

The police advised members of the public to:

  • Enable security features such as two-factor authentication for their bank, Singpass and social media accounts, as well as to set transaction limits on banking transactions
  • Check for scam signs with official sources. Purchase only from authorised sellers and reputable sources. Avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts of unknown individuals.
  • Verify the seller’s profile through its customer reviews and ratings
  • Warn others about such scams and report the fraudulent pages to the social media platforms

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

They may also visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 for more information on scams. — TODAY