Family Loses More Than S$2,500 To Cruise Scam Involving Travel Company With Fake S’pore Offices

Family Lodges Police Reports In Singapore & Malaysia Over Cruise Scam

A family of six lost more than S$2,500 after their booking for a cruise to Genting turned out to be a scam.

The travel company had issued an invoice confirming their booking but refused to issue proof of payment after they made payment.

They then discovered that the company’s email and office addresses in Singapore were fake.

After the realisation, the family lodged police reports with both Malaysian and Singaporean authorities.

Saw ad on Facebook & contacted travel company through WhatsApp

55-year-old Mr Zhang (name transliterated from Mandarin) told Shin Min Daily News that his family first saw an advertisement for the cruise on Facebook back in Dec 2023.

He recounted that the listing promoted a four-day “Genting Dream” cruise from a travel company by the name of “SingExpress Travel Pte Ltd”.

The itinerary included stops in Port Klang and Penang. Mr Zhang’s family thought it was a tempting offer and reached out to the company.

They later got in touch with “Kenny”, a person claiming to be from the travel company, via WhatsApp.

Travel company’s social media pages stopped updating in 2021

Mr Zhang’s sister, Ms Zhang, said that they received an invoice for their booking on 5 Jan 2024.

The total sum for the cruise amounted to S$2,550 (RM9,076) for three rooms for six people.

This included a senior citizen discount for their elderly mother.

Before transferring the money, Ms Zhang looked up the company online and found records of it. However, its social media pages stopped updating in 2021.

Email & Singapore offices of travel agency were fake

To the family’s dismay, the company did not issue a receipt or send them their tickets after they had paid for the cruise.

Apparently, “Kenny” evaded the family’s enquiries and even lied that he had already sent them their documents.

When they emailed the company about this, the family realised that the email address was fake.

Ms Lin, the girlfriend of Mr Zhang’s nephew, added that they visited the company’s office addresses at Suntec City and Toh Guan Road, only to discover that they do not exist.

“We also contacted Resorts World, and they said there was no record of us booking a cruise package nor did they have a partnership with this company,” she said.

When Mr Zhang requested a refund, he claimed that the company told them to wait for 21 days, but became unresponsive when they tried to enquire more.

Family lodges police reports about cruise scam in Singapore & Malaysia

Ms Zhang and Ms Lim later lodged police reports in Malaysia and Singapore.

“Singapore police told us that they have received one other complaint about this company, while Malaysian police have four others.”

Noting the “clever” tactics of the scammers, the family now cautions others to remain vigilant against such methods.

Responding to Shin Min’s queries, the Singapore Police Force confirmed that it has received a report about this matter.

Another company occupies travel company’s ACRA-registered address

The family has also visited the company address listed in the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) records. There, they found another company occupying the space on Anson Road.

When Shin Min’s reporter visited the home of the person supposedly in charge of the travel company, neighbours said that the homeowner was usually absent.

A spokesperson for Resorts World Cruises verified with the Chinese language daily that SingExpress Travel Pte Ltd is not one of their travel partners, and warned the public to be wary of such scams.

In addition, Shin Min found that the company had three listed contact methods. Two are no longer active, and the other was a mobile number that no one answered.

They also could only reach “Kenny” via WhatsApp and not by phone call. He stopped responding when asked about the company’s address.

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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News

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