SINGAPORE — A teen admitted to posing as a woman on Locanto to scam men over sexual services and to cheating FoodPanda over food he claimed never arrived. He also took GoJek rides without paying for them.
The 18-year-old, who cannot be named as he was 17 at the time of the offences, carried out various scams from 2019 to 2020.
On Tuesday (28 September), the teen pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating and one count of accessing computer data with the intention to commit an offence. Another five charges will be considered for his sentencing.
District Judge Kessler Soh called for probation and reformative training reports for the teen.
Sexual services scam
The teen created a profile of a woman whom he named "Celine" on Locanto, an online classifieds platform, in order to cheat men into transferring him money for purported sexual services.
One of the victims, a 27-year-old man, came across her profile and contacted "Celine", saying that he was interested in being friends with benefits. He arranged to meet "Celine" at Selegie Road on 4 March last year.
"Celine" told the victim to make payment to her bank account for condoms, consultation, a medical consultation to ensure that she did not have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), birth control pills, and payment for sexual services.
The victim transferred $2,186 into the teen's friend's bank account.
When the teen tried to ask for more money, the victim became suspicious and lodged a police report on 4 March.
The teen later created another profile on Locanto using the name "Tricia".
A 22-year-old man came across the advertisement for sexual services and contacted "Tricia". The victim was asked to pay $50 and choose a package. The victim chose a six-month friends with benefit package which cost $250.
When the victim asked to meet Tricia, he was asked to pay $450 for medical checkups to prove that "Tricia" did not have an STD, and $500 for another medical checkup.
When the teen asked for more money, the victim became suspicious and lodged a police report. He had paid $1,250 in total.
In January last year, the teen devised a scheme to cheat FoodPanda of its orders. After food was delivered to his residence, he would inform FoodPanda that his order had not arrived. FoodPanda refunded the value of the orders to his bank account, while the teen consumed the items.
In April last year, the teen ordered groceries and alcohol via FoodPanda before claiming that these items had not been delivered. He then received full refunds for his orders. He sold the alcohol on chat groups and Carousell, earning $1,000 to $2,000, and kept the groceries for himself.
To evade detection, the teen used 58 different email addresses and phone numbers to make the orders.
From January to August last year, the teen made a total of 81 false claims and induced FoodPanda into delivering a total of $15,437.02 in orders.
In August last year, the fleet engagement manager of FoodPanda received feedback from its delivery riders about a possible refund scam operated from the teen's unit in Jurong West Central 1. The manager lodged a police report on 21 August last year.
The teen also cheated GoJek, a ride hailing platform. He learned from an unknown man he met via a chat group that he could register PayLah as a payment method to book rides on GoJek. He offered to teach the teen how to do so in return for $500.
After booking a ride, he would cancel PayLah as the payment method and change his contact number to a random overseas number generated by an application. By doing so, his bank account would not be charged for the ride.
When his GoJek account was blocked, the teen would register for a new account with new email addresses and mobile numbers.
He booked 25 GoJek rides between 19 and 21 September and cheated the company of $576.
The teen will return to court on 5 October for sentencing.
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