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SINGAPORE: 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, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Tuesday (Oct 25).

The scams involved the purported sale of iPhones on e-commerce platform Carousell.

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

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

Through follow-up investigations, officers from SPF’s Commercial Affairs Department established the identity of the duo and arrested them at Changi Airport on Tuesday upon their arrival in Singapore.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the duo is believed to be involved in at least 140 similar cases with reported losses amounting to more than S$360,000,” said the police.

The two suspects will be charged in court on Wednesday with engaging in a criminal conspiracy to cheat, said the police.

The offence of cheating carries a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine.

The police advised members of the public to take precautions when making online purchases, such as only purchasing items from authorised sellers or reputable sources, especially for high-value items.

They added that the public should opt for buyer protection using in-built payment options that release payment upon delivery and, whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers as these methods do not offer any protection.

SPF cautioned that scammers may entice buyers to contact them directly through messaging platforms such as Telegram, WhatsApp or WeChat by offering better or faster deals if bank transfer payments are made directly to them.

These scammers may use local bank accounts or provide copies of identity cards to make victims believe that they are genuine sellers.

“Do not fall for it!” SPF said.