SINGAPORE — The concert scene in Singapore has been booming, and while it's good news for the fans, there is a flip side to it. Since the year began, 583 victims fell prey to e-commerce concert ticket scams, with losses amounting to at least $223,000, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a news release on Thursday (8 Feb).
Among them are victims of scams carried out by one man and three women, between the ages of 18 and 27, who were arrested after a joint week-long operation by the police, Carousell and the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) between 31 January and 6 February.
The four people allegedly facilitated the scams by opening new bank accounts and handing them over to scammers in exchange for money. They also gave their Singpass account details.
The scammers would then use their Singpass credentials to open new bank accounts and mobile phone lines, before opening Carousell accounts to make fake concert ticket listings. These tickets were mostly to shows by Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Yoasobi, Joker Xue and Enhypen.
Another seven men and four women are also under investigation. Preliminary investigations revealed that they had "unwittingly facilitated the scams" in several ways.
Most of them took on Telegram job offers that asked them to receive money in their bank accounts to buy Razer gift cards. They were also tasked to help receive and transfer funds through their bank accounts.
Of the 11, a 21-year-old woman was asked to change her Carousell account username and email address. Her account was later found to be taken over by scammers. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old male teen gave away his Carousell account to a scammer, who offered to top up his Carousell wallet.
How the ticket concert scams were carried out
The scammers would pretend to be “sellers” and post concert tickets for sale on online platforms like Telegram, Carousell, Twitter, Facebook and Xiao Hong Shu. Victims who expressed interest in purchasing tickets would then be redirected to contact the sellers on WhatsApp, Telegram or WeChat.
"In some cases, sellers provided fake screenshots or videos of the tickets and/or the ticket purchase receipts. The sellers would then promise to email or transfer the tickets to the victims’ Ticketmaster accounts once the payment was successful," said the police.
The victims only realised 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.
Buy tickets through authorised sellers or reputable sources, advise police
The police have advised the public to buy tickets through authorised sellers or reputable sources. They should be wary of "attractive, time-sensitive deals where only limited stocks are available".
"Avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals and, whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the seller. Always verify the seller’s profile through customer reviews and ratings," the police added.
The public is also advised to download the ScamShield App and set up security features, such as two-factor authentication and banking transaction limits. Those with information on such crimes can contact the police hotline (1800-2550000), or submit information on the I-Witness e-service.
Earlier this month, it was reported that more than 1,500 people lost at least $1.1 million to concert ticket scams from fake online listings last year.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.