Face Mask Seller On Carousell Cheated By Overseas Supplier, 600 Singaporeans Paid $189,000

In order to beat the long queues for face masks, many Singaporeans have turned to online shopping platforms to get supplies.

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600 Singaporeans did the same, purchasing cheap boxes from online shopping platform Carousell, reported The New Paper.

Little did they know they were falling for an elaborate scam from overseas.

An offer too good to be true

The seller, @diywallpaper, sold a box of 50 face masks for only S$12, claiming that it is the “cheapest” you might find out there.

It does sound like a good offer, if it was real.

Here is a screenshot of the listing by Lianhe Zaobao:

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Masks supposedly made in Turkey

She claimed that the 3-ply masks originated from Turkey and were shipped from Turkey and the Netherlands, which actually sounds pretty legit.

However, after 600 Singaporeans paid an accumulated amount of S$189,000, they did not receive their face masks.

Seller was also a victim

Turns out, the seller herself was scammed by her suppliers. She reportedly paid them around S$122,000 and never got the supplies ordered.

As she explained to her customers in a WhatsApp group chat seen by The New Paper,

I did not pocket a single cent and have been trying my very best to pay back. If I had any intention to cheat you guys of the money, I would not have disclosed this information in the first place.

She said that a police report had already been made on 19 Feb.

Overseas scam tricked customers to buy in bulk

Many customers, sensing a good deal, even ordered large quantities after deeming offer reliable.

According to The New Paper, a Singaporean paid a whopping $24,000 deposit for 4,000 boxes.

The seller has compensated some of the customers out of the extra $67,000 she collected, which was supposed to be her profit.

Despite that, many customers managed to claim back only a small portion of what they had paid.

Harder to track as it is an overseas scam

As the scam is from overseas, it might be hard for investigations to be swiftly carried out.

Lawyer Ravinderpal Singh told The New Paper that Singapore officials would need to “liaise with the foreign authorities for assistance”, due to issues to do with jurisdiction.

Taking advantage of people’s fears

As the Covid-19 outbreak worsens, many people are taking advantage of people’s fears.

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This incident serves as a lesson for everyone to always remain alert when purchasing items online.

We hope the affected people will recover their losses soon.

Featured image adapted from Head Topics.