SINGAPORE – The police have warned against the spread of e-commerce scams involving the sale of jade stones via live streaming on TikTok.
Since January, at least 10 victims have fallen prey to such scams, with total losses amounting to at least $95,000.
In one instance, scammers pretended to sell jade on TikTok live streams.
After victims agreed to buy the jade, the scammers provided a bank account number for the victims’ payments. The scammers would then claim they did not receive the payment, or would become uncontactable.
In another instance, victims would “invest” in raw jade stones, where the return on investment depended on the value of cut jade stones.
Investors transferred money to the scammers’ bank accounts in advance. Over TikTok live streams, the scammers would then cut the raw jade stones to determine their value.
For high-quality stones, the scammers would “purchase” these back at a higher price from the victims who had made investments. They would also promise to refund the victims if the jade stones were of poor quality or no value.
The victims would realise these were scams after they failed to receive refunds or returns on their investment, or when the scammers became uncontactable.
In their statement, the police also issued advice on how to protect oneself against being scammed. The public is advised to:
1. Add the ScamShield App and set security features. For example, enable the two-factor or multifactor authentication for bank, social media and Singpass accounts. Set transaction limits for Internet banking transactions including PayNow.
2. Check for scam signs with official sources. Visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.
Purchase items only from authorised sellers or reputable sources, and beware of time-sensitive deals due to limited stocks. Avoid making upfront payments to bank accounts belonging to unknown individuals, and avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to sellers. Always verify sellers’ profiles through customer reviews and ratings.
3. Tell the authorities, family, and friends about this scam, so they do not fall for it. Report the fraudulent pages to TikTok.
If you have information about such crimes or are in doubt, call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness
All information will be kept confidential.
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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.