A cheat is on the loose, hoping to exploit the generosity of Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on Sunday.
Last Friday, a netizen went on Facebook to complain of a woman who was allegedly collecting donations for Al-Falah Mosque, which is in Orchard Road.
But the mosque, as the netizen later found out, does not engage in door-to-door donation drives.
When contacted, a mosque spokesman confirmed the incident and said it "has not authorised any individual or organisation to do Ramadan collection on its behalf." The mosque has reported the matter to the police.
The police confirmed the report and advised the public to be cautious of fund-raising scams.
The mosque has also posted an alert on its Facebook page, asking the public to be vigilant and not to fall prey to such unlicensed collection.
Al-Falah's youth development executive Ibrahim Samat, 32, told The New Paper: "We've had three complaints since last Thursday and all of them said this same woman was asking for donations on behalf of our mosque in places like Geylang and Punggol."
The scammer is reportedly carrying forms which are readily available for the public at Al-Falah Mosque.
Mr Ibrahim explained: "She apparently made copies of the forms we distribute to devotees here during the fasting month. The money collected is used to provide food during Ramadan.
"We have used those forms for many years, but to my knowledge, this is the first time someone has used them to con people."
According to the netizen's post, the woman approached her with a form bearing Al-Falah Mosque's logo, asking for cash donations which she claimed would be used to educate teenagers at the mosque during Ramadan. The woman even carried a pass with the mosque's logo, which she used to identify herself as a mosque employee.
But the netizen became suspicious when the woman, who she said was in her 40s, refused to let her make her donations directly to the mosque.
The netizen did not respond to TNP's messages.
Commercial crimes, which consist of mostly cheating and related offences, fell to 1,577 last year from 1,841 cases in 2012.
The public is advised to call the police immediately at 999 to report scams.
This article was first published on June 26, 2014.
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