Probation for teen who cheated over $19,000 in FoodPanda, Gojek, sexual services scams

·Senior Reporter
·4 min read
A man typing on a laptop. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A teen who carried out several scams over 2019 and 2020, cheating more than $19,000 from GoJek and FoodPanda, as well as from men seeking sexual services, was given 27 months' probation on Wednesday (3 November). 

The 18-year-old, who cannot be named as he was 17 at the time of the offences, will have to comply with conditions of his probation, such as keeping to a time curfew. He also has to perform 80 hours of community service. 

He will be placed on an electronic monitoring scheme for six months or until he enlists into national service, and his parents were placed on a $5,000 bond to ensure his good behaviour. 

The teen will return to court for a review on 5 April next year. 

He had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating and one count of accessing computer data with the intention to commit an offence. Another five charges were considered for his sentencing.

Created fake female profile for sexual services scam

The teen had 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 the 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, birth control pills, a medical consultation to ensure that she did not have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and payment for sexual services.

The victim transferred $2,186 into the bank account of the teen's friend. 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 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.

Cheated FoodPanda by falsely claiming food not delivered

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 food.

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.

Using PayLah to scam GoJek rides

The teen also cheated ride hailing platform GoJek. He learnt from an unknown man via a chat group that he could register PayLah as a payment method to book rides on GoJek. The man 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.

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