SINGAPORE - Since January, at least 10 victims have fallen prey to e-commerce scams involving the sale of jade stones on TikTok, the Singapore Police Force said on Sunday (26 March).
Total losses have amounted to at least $95,000, said the police, who had highlighted in a report last month that e-commerce scams were on the rise.
According to a police press release, one such scam variant involved scammers pretending to sell jade on TikTok livestreams.
Once a person has agreed to buy a piece of jade, scammers would provide a local or overseas bank account number for payment to be made. After the money has been transferred, the scammers would claim that they did not receive payment or become uncontactable.
The second type of scam variant involved “investment” in raw jade stones over TikTok.
Interested parties would be instructed to transfer money to the scammers’ bank accounts in advance, after whic scammers would cut a piece of raw jade stone to determine its value on the TikTok livestream.
The returns on investment would be dependent on the value of the cut jade stones. A refund was promised to victims if the jade stones turned out to be of a poor quality, or of no value upon cutting.
In addition, the scammers claimed they would also “purchase” high quality jade stones back at a higher price from victims.
Victims only later realised it was a scam when the refund or returns were not received as promised, and the scammers became uncontactable.
Protecting against scams
The police reminded the public to only purchase items from authorised sellers or reputable sources, and beware of time-sensitive deals due to limited stocks.
They also suggested to avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals, and avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to sellers.
"Remember to always verify sellers’ profiles through customer reviews and ratings," the police said in its press release.
In addition, the police highlighted that word of mouth can play a key role in building awareness and education about such scams so people do not fall for it, and advised members of the public who came across such scams to do their part and report the fraudulent pages to TikTok.
For more information, the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.
Should members of the public have information about such crimes or are in doubt, they are advised to contact the police at 1800-255-0000, or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept confidential.
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