Police in Bukit Batok masterminded an ingenious ‘scam’ to raise awareness about fraud – and many fell for it

Bukit Batok NPC’s retail “scam” campaign showed that the SPF is not short of creative ideas when it comes to educating the public.
Facebook/ Bukit Batok NPC

Lately, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has been getting creative with its methods to educate the public about crime and safety.

From posting tongue-in-cheek crime advisories on social media laden with puns to using Orwellian dark humour in its warnings against criminal activity, the SPF doesn’t seem to be running short short of ideas.

Recently, the Bukit Batok Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) upped the ante with its Anti-scam Awareness Programme, aimed at educating Singaporeans about the country’s most prevalent type of fraud: e-commerce scams.

And it was done in one of the most unexpectedly innovative ways possible – by setting a booth in a mall with an offer few people were able to refuse.

Bukit Batok NPC released a Facebook video on Saturday (Mar 3) featuring the campaign which happened at Jurong Point mall on Jan 28.

Police masqueraded as shady retailers from a pseudo company called Liaison – a homonym for “lie is on” – selling branded shoes at a tempting price of S$30 ($22.74) for what was touted as “the biggest one-day sale”.

A booth was set up in the atrium of the mall to publicise the extremely appealing offer, and it did not take long for shoppers to be lured into the nefarious scheme.

Some expressed skepticism about the offer, questioning the dubiously low price and enquiring about Liaison’s registration and return policies.

Yet almost all patrons took up the irresistible offer and purchased the shoes with little hesitance.

However, it was not over for the customers even after the deal was done and dusted.

After making payment, they were led to the back of the booth and asked to watch a short video, which turned out to be an SPF video touching on the topic of scams.

Many immediately caught on to the grand scheme of things, prompting hilarious reactions – one customer was worried about not getting his money back.

At the end of the presentation, Bukit Batok NPC team leader Inspector Mohamed Fadzil Mohamed Hisum conducted a walk-through of an exhibition about e-commerce scams.

He shared the campaign’s purpose of raising public awareness about the issue and advised shoppers about the tell-tale signs of fraud.

It was revealed that people between ages of 22 and 49 are the most susceptible to becoming victims of e-commerce fraud – and the results of the campaign evidently showed that.

The money paid by the participants was returned to them after the session, of course.

The campaign was well-received by the public and the Facebook video garnered some 87,370 views and has been shared 789 times, at the time of writing.

Many social media users also praised the creativity and ingenuity behind the campaign.