Man, 19, posed as woman on Locanto, scammed man into paying for 'sister's' funeral services

·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
A man holding his phone. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
A man holding his phone. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Posing online as a woman whose sister had been hospitalised, a 19-year-old man managed to deceive another man into paying for the non-existent sister’s hospital bills.

When Jerell Lim Jing Kai later claimed that the “sister” had died and asked for money to pay for her funeral services, the victim, a 24-year-old man, handed over more money.

Lim was given six months of reformative training on Thursday (30 September), after he earlier pleaded guilty to five counts of cheating and one count of assisting another to retain the benefits of criminal conduct. He had asked friends to create bank accounts to receive the criminal proceeds.

Another 11 counts of cheating were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Scam on Locanto  

Early last year, Lim created a profile on online classifieds platform Locanto in order to draw men into paying money for sexual services. He used photos of unknown women he had found on Instagram to create his profile.

In order to hide his identity, Lim asked his friend to obtain bank accounts belonging to third parties, which Lim would then use to receive money from victims. He also borrowed his friend’s bank accounts and sought PayLah! QR codes linked to these accounts to use for the scams. In exchange, Lim agreed to give a portion of the scam proceeds to his friends.  

Lim then created the profile of “Bernise”, a fictional 20-year-old woman. On 27 March last year, the victim came across the profile and messaged “Bernise”. Lim replied and arranged to meet the victim. 

“Bernise” then informed the victim that she was unable to meet the victim as her sister was hospitalised, and asked for a loan to help with her sister’s medical bill. Lim even sent the victim a photo of a medical bill as proof.

On 28 March, the victim transferred $1,000 to Lim’s friend’s bank account. The friend received $200 for his help, but refused to continue providing his bank account thereafter. Lim then approached another friend for the use of his bank account.

A day later, “Bernise” asked the victim for more money to pay for the sister’s medical bills. The victim transferred another $2,000 to Lim.

On 10 April, “Bernise” informed the victim that her sister had died. She asked the victim to transfer money to a funeral service provider on 13 April. Believing her, the victim transferred $520 using a PayLah! QR code he believed belonged to the funeral services provider.

Suspecting that he had been scammed, the victim lodged a police report on 26 April.

Sex, investment scams

Lim also devised another profile name “feliciaxx88”, to place a sexual service advertisement on Locanto.

On 13 July last year, a victim whose age was not revealed, came across the “feliciaxx88” advertisement and sent a message to Lim. Lim posed as “Felicia” to reply to the victim and sent a list of sexual services she could provide. The victim agreed to transfer $200 as a deposit for the sexual services and did so with a PayLah! QR code.

“Felicia” then claimed that she owed loansharks money and asked for a loan of $280. Out of sympathy, the victim transferred the sum.

On 15 July last year, Lim told the victim to meet “Felicia” at a residential address. But when the victim went to the address, he found that the unit did not exist. He lodged a police report.

Lim later found out that the friends who provided the bank accounts were called up by the police, and told them to lie about his involvement.

Lim also played a role in an investment scam, where he provided his bank account to receive proceeds from an investment scam, in exchange for fast cash. He learned of the opportunity via a Telegram group around 26 April.

Lim opened a UOB bank account and passed the debit card and iBanking token to the person who offered the job.

The account eventually received $191,780.80, with $191,752.24 transferred out of it.

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