Hard to resist, man says of WeChat 'scams'

Hard to resist, man says of WeChat 'scams'
'SEXY WOMAN': Mr Chen spoke to a person, who said she wasn't a cheat, on WeChat. He bought her a $150 iTunes gift card, but she wanted more. He eventually bought $650 worth of gift cards for her.

He nearly fell for the charms of a "young, sexy woman" on chat app WeChat once. But he was not so lucky the second time round and was allegedly cheated of $650.

The 52-year-old, who gave his name only as Mr Chen, is among many victims who have been scammed in a similar manner this year.

There have been at least 500 reports of credits-for-sex scams involving more than $1.25 million in the first five months of this year, compared to just 149 reports for the whole of last year, said police.

In such scams, perpetrators try to trick victims into giving them online credits or gift cards used for making purchases, often in exchange for sexual favours.

In Mr Chen's case, the construction worker said he had met several people who appeared to be young women on social media platforms. Once he got their contacts, he would chat with them on WeChat, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

"They looked very young and were dressed sexily. They were very flirtatious and hard to resist," said Mr Chen in Mandarin.

He said that one of these "sexy" women arranged to meet him in Ang Mo Kio on June 8.

However, she asked him to first buy her a $200 iTunes gift card from a convenience store at an MRT station before she would show up.

When he tried to buy the gift card, an employee at the convenience store convinced him not to after hearing his story. The employee told him that many people had been duped before.

Later that evening, Mr Chen spoke to another person, who appeared to be a sexy woman, on WeChat.

"She said she wasn't a cheat," said Mr Chen. "I didn't suspect her, so I bought her a $150 iTunes gift card, but she wanted more." He eventually bought $650 worth of gift cards for the woman.

But Mr Chen came to his senses after she asked for an additional $800 worth of cards.

Mr Chen tried to confront some of the "sexy women" he had met over their alleged scam tactics. Some scolded him while others chose not to reply, with several even deleting their accounts.

"Other than a few who arranged to meet at Ang Mo Kio, many of them wanted to meet at Bedok. I think there could be some syndicate behind this," Mr Chen said.

He added that these women were usually very persistent and would often try to appease their targets.

Yesterday, a 22-year-old Malaysian man believed to be a member of a syndicate involved in a $1.25 million credit-for-sex scam was charged in court, The Straits Times reported.


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