The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued advisory warning fans of Universal Studios Singapore (USS) Halloween Horror Nights to be wary of ticketing scams. According to the police advisory, a majority of these online purchase scam cases were advertised on Carousell and Facebook.
Between 30 August and 29 September 2017, SPF had received at least 35 reports of online purchase scams involving USS Halloween tickets, higher than the year before. The total amount cheated for the 35 cases has added up to more than SG$21,500, with the amounts ranging from SG$45 to SG$7,000 in a single case, according to the advisory.
The scams involved culprits failing to deliver the tickets after receiving payments from victims. Culprits would ask victims for advanced payments for the tickets, either as a deposit or in full, to be paid to a local bank account before agreeing to deliver the items. They would then become unreachable after receiving payment, failing to deliver the items. According to the SPF, there were also cases where the culprits provided fake tickets to the victims, who only realised the cheating after they were denied entry to the attractions.
In a statement to Marketing, a Resort World Sentosa (RWS) spokesperson declined to comment further when asked about the impact on ticket sales and additional measures the organisation might take to protect customers. However the spokesperson said:
“We strongly advise our guests to purchase tickets to Universal Studios Singapore’s Halloween Horror Nights 7 through our official website or at our on-site ticketing booths to ensure that tickets purchased are genuine.”
In a conversation with Marketing, a Carousell spokesperson said that trust and safety is a top priority for the company. The spokesperson explained that the platform is "constantly working to improve user features and internal processes that provide a safe and enjoyable environment" for its community to buy, sell and connect with interest groups.
"We take feedback and complaints seriously and users should report any suspicious activity so that our team is alerted to the problem and can proceed to take the necessary actions," the Carousell spokesperson added. The Carousell statement added that the platform has features for user feedback, user verification, and have some developments in the pipeline to improve these features. It also works with artificial intelligence to improve its scam detection and have dedicated teams in place to monitor its marketplace.
"As with every online and offline marketplace, there are always risks to buying and selling. We encourage our users to be cautious and practice due diligence when arranging any deals, including event tickets," the spokesperson added. The response from Carousell echoes it's recent involvement in selling counterfeit LEGO products.
Meanwhile, Facebook did not comment on the matter. However, according to its help centre, Facebook includes a link in nearly every piece of content for reporting abuse, bullying, harassment and other issues. To report a post, users can click in the top right of the post and choose the option that best describes the issue, then follow the on-screen instructions.
Read the full police advisory here:
Resorts World Sentosa is not the only organisation to be hit by scams in recent times. Just last week, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) issued an advisory to warn citizens on scam calls. According to a public advisory released on ICA’s Facebook page, callers claiming to be ICA officers asked members of the public for their passport numbers.
The ICA clarified that these calls were not made by its officers; it added that it does not call members of public to request for personal information over the phone.
Meanwhile in May, Singapore Airlines (SIA) released a statement on its website and social media pages, warning customers of scam emails and phone calls which claim to be from the airline. The scam also extends to SIA’s KrisFlyer loyalty programme. According to the company, recipients of the scam are informed that they have been selected for a draw or have won air tickets.
Days after, AirAsia was also hit with a similar social media scam which had been circulating offering free tickets through an online survey. The scam post directs people to a link, and requires participants to answer questions in order to redeem the vouchers, said the airline in a statement to A+M.