February 7, 2024 — Authorities in Singapore have arrested four people connected to a huge scam involving the sale of fake concert tickets as part of a major crackdown on internet fraud. The scam targeted fans anxious to watch concerts by worldwide singers including Coldplay, Yoasobi, Joker Xue, and Enhypen, resulting in over 580 victims being scammed of more than S$223,000 (US$165,500). The scam began at the beginning of the year.
The Government Technology Agency, the online marketplace Carousell, and the Singapore Police Force worked together to make the arrests, which took place between January 31 and February 6. The authorities have charged the defendants, aged between 18 and 27, with providing fraudsters cash in exchange for access to their bank account information or Singpass credentials. Fraudsters then exploited these credentials to create new bank accounts and mobile lines, facilitating the opening of fraudulent Carousell accounts for posting fake ticket listings.
The operation also uncovered that the scammers extended their deceitful activities to other social media platforms, including Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, and Xiao Hong Shu, directing interested buyers to communicate via WhatsApp, Telegram, or WeChat. Often, the scam was discovered by victims when they were asked to make additional payments, when their tickets were delivered later than expected, when they encountered sellers who were unresponsive, or when they realised their tickets were invalid on the day of the concert. Scammers often lure the victims in with fake screenshots or videos of the tickets and purchase receipts.
Additionally, eleven other individuals, including a fifteen-year-old boy, have been arrested and are currently cooperating with the ongoing investigations. It is thought that these people unintentionally assisted the con artists in a number of ways, such as accepting shady employment offers on Telegram to help with money transfers or giving the fraudsters access to their internet accounts.
The Singapore Police Force advises the public to proceed with caution and only deal with approved dealers or reliable sources when buying concert tickets. They also suggested confirming the seller’s legitimacy through customer reviews and ratings and they cautioned against making upfront payments to strangers.
The police have advised the public to download the ScamShield app and put security measures like two-factor authentication and transaction limitations on banking activities into place in order to better protect themselves from frauds of this nature.
This episode is a clear reminder of the sophisticated strategies used by internet fraudsters and the value of exercising caution while transacting digitally. Authorities are committed to prosecuting individuals involved and stopping such fraudulent operations in the future, which is why they are conducting this inquiry.