A concerned member of the general public who was at 7-Eleven yesterday, 19 November, noticed something amiss.
He then took to Facebook to share his concerns.
The man who was at Chong Pang’s 7-Eleven store spotted an uncle purchasing at least $1,000 worth of Apple gift cards at 9.07pm yesterday.
Uncle Didn’t Reply When Asked the Reason for Buying Large Number of Apple Gift Cards
When asked by the man the reason for buying a large number of Apple gift cards, the elderly gave him a blank look.
He then asked the cashier to settle the transaction quickly.
While the cashier was settling the payment one card at a time (each card needs to be activated manually), he warned the uncle about scams, pointing to the scam alert poster in the store.
The man remained in the store for around five minutes, to find out who the uncle was meeting. However, the uncle stayed in the store.
The man then left as he had to be somewhere else.
Worried that the uncle might be a potential sex scam victim, the man posted his encounter on Facebook, urging those who might know the elderly to keep a lookout for him.
So, what’s the scam that the man is worried about?
Credit-for-sex scams Cases on the Rise
Before that, some numbers to show you how real this is: the number of credit-for-sex scams cases is on the rise.
According to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), at least 1,065 cases of credit-for-sex scams were reported in 2019. The total amount of losses by victims’ amounted to at least $2.8 million.
During the first half of 2019, the number of credit-for-sex scams increased by 118% to 456, as compared to 209 cases in the same period back in 2018.
In the first half of 2019, the largest sum cheated in a single case was $80,000.
In March this year alone, the SPF received at least 112 reports of such scams, with total losses amounting to at least $295,000.
Most of these scams involve using Apple iTunes cards and Alipay as the main money transfer platforms.
How Scammers Cheat Victims in Credit-for-sex Scams
Scammers usually befriend their victims through online applications such as WeChat, Tinder and Michat, or websites such as Locanto and Skokka.
Victims are then told to either make advance payment using AliPay credits at AXS machines or purchase Apple iTunes or Google Play gift cards, in exchange for sexual services.
In most cases, the scammers usually become uncontactable after the advance payment has been made.
To educate the general public on ways to spot the various signs of scams, the SPF launched an anti-scam campaign called, Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes, in August 2020.
To avoid being a potential victim for credit-for-sex scams, be wary of those who offer sex in exchange for gift-cards or shopping-credits. In addition, do not provide personal details or receipts showing PINs to strangers online.
If you would like to find out more about how such scams are conducted, check out this video we’ve done in collaboration with the Singapore Police Force (and also subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informative videos!):
Featured Image: TY Lim / Shutterstock.com & Facebook (Muhammad Khairi Md Nor)
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