Wanting to buy mum an iPhone, two girls get scammed out of hard-earned savings, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Wanting to buy mum an iPhone, two girls get scammed out of hard-earned savings

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What started off as an act of kindness turned into heartbreak when two sisters, wanting to buy their mother a new iPhone online, ended up getting scammed on Carousell. 

Speaking to Mothership, the mother Kate (not her real name) said her daughters wanted to get her an iPhone for her birthday.

The two students dug deep into their savings, accumulated over a few years through selling old textbooks and working part-time during the holidays. 

They decided to purchase a brand new iPhone 14 Plus 256GB off Carousell for $1,250, since it cost $150 less than market price. 

Aware of the preponderance of scams in recent times, they made sure to check the seller’s information. They noticed that unclemobile888 was a seller with at least 10 "good reviews" and a two-year-old account.

When they contacted the seller, who went by the name “Richard Yang”, the elder of the siblings grew wary when he asked her to PayNow the amount instead of using Caroupay. 

He claimed that doing so would help save money by avoiding a “platform fee”.

Though she initially declined and requested a face-to-face transaction, the deal was sealed when the seller promised that she would receive the phone the next day. 

Kate said her elder daughter was still sceptical, but went ahead with the transaction on the basis that there should be a “basic level of trust between people”. 

But the phone never arrived the following day. When the girls reached out for a refund, their messages were met with silence. 

Kate became aware of the scam only when the sisters – who couldn’t bear to keep the secret any longer – confessed a few days after her birthday. 

The family tried enlisting the help of the police twice, but were told it would be impossible to track the culprit.

Data revealed by the Singapore Police Force on Feb 8 showed that Carousell was the top-most platform on which buyers were scammed,  accounting for 89 per cent of reported cases, with Shopee in second spot at 6.6 per cent. 

"It might be difficult to stop (the scammers), but I hope Carousell can do something more about it," Kate said.