A 17-year-old girl has become one of the youngest to be charged here with cheating victims in a luxury bag-for-sale scam.
Sharin Lim Zhi Ning was charged yesterday with 11 counts of cheating and one charge of criminal breach of trust.
She was said to have committed the crimes between May 26 and July 12 last year.
Court documents revealed that Lim had met her victims in various locations around the island.
She had allegedly made them think that she was selling luxury bags from brands such as Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton.
Typically, she would ask for deposits to be transferred to her bank account for the bags she was offering to sell or rent out. In total, she allegedly received $3,000 in deposits.
None of her victims received the bags they ordered.
On July 11, Lim met five of her victims in separate meetings.
At one meeting, she allegedly deceived a woman into believing that she was selling a Louis Vuitton bag valued at $1,000. The woman later transferred $250 into Lim's bank account.
Lim also faces a single charge of criminal breach of trust for allegedly taking a red Chloe bag, valued at $1,000, that she was entrusted with on July 11, for her own use.
If found guilty of cheating, Lim can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.
She can also be jailed up to seven years or fined, or both, for criminal breach of trust.
Cheating cases on the rise
There are no specific police statistics for cheating cases involving luxury goods such as designer bags.
But police statistics show that cheating cases involving e-commerce jumped from 238 cases in 2012 to 509 last year.
Multiple Payment Online Purchase Scam cases accounted for most of the increase. From only 14 such cases in 2012, there was an astounding jump to 231 cases last year.
Such scams typically involve culprits posing as sellers of items like smartphones, tablets and luxury goods, collecting deposits and failing to deliver the purchased items.
Their delaying tactics include asking for further payment "on the pretext of mixed delivery orders", said the police.
Even after paying up, the victims would still not receive the goods.
The police advise the public to be suspicious of offers that are too good to be true.
Payment should be made only on delivery of the goods and you should trust only establishments or people you know.
This article was first published on June 27, 2014.
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