Son steals parents’ identity to buy phones, facing 10yrs jail term and fine

For cheating Singtel and fraudulently inducing delivery of mobile phones using his parents’ identity, Fong Kok Meng, 32 years old and unemployed, could be facing 10 years of jail time and an uncertain amount of fine.

In the first attempt, Fong began an online live chat with Singtel’s customer service agents and expressed his intention to enter into a mobile phone contract.

Instead of providing his own NRIC number, however, he gave his father’s NRIC number. He also sent a photo of his father’s NRIC to the customer service agent. With this act, Singtel was made to believe that the company was entering into a contract with Fong’s father.

Fong chose an iPhone 6 (16GB) on Singtel’s combo 6 plan costing  S$106.17 each month. The cost of the phone (S$988) as well as the SIM card (S$30) were included in the first bill.

Singtel delivered the phone to him a few days later. About a week later, Fong used the same method to enter into another mobile contract with Singtel – this time using his mother’s identity. Singtel delivered another iPhone 6 to him.

Fong then sold the two iPhones at a shop in Chinatown Complex for S$850 each and used the money for his personal expenses. Meanwhile, Singtel bills for both mobile contracts accumulated. These eventually amounted to S$1,387.42 and S$1,354.79 respectively over a 6-month period. Neither Fong nor his parents paid these bills.

A few years ago, he had similarly signed four contracts with an un-named telecommunications provider without any intention to personally pay for those contracts.

After his deception attempts, he sold off the phones.

As of January 16, Fong has been sentenced to four months’ jail, after he deceptively used his parents’ identities to sign up for mobile phone contracts with Singtel.

Two other charges of cheating in relation to separate incidents in 2015 were also taken into consideration for Fong’s sentencing.

e-Commerce and Impersonation scams

In the first six months of 2018, e-commerce scams, loan scams and impersonation scams spiked by 72%, going from 1,055 cases to 1,823 year-on-year — pushing overall crime rate up. The police said the “pervasive” Internet penetration and greater prevalence of smartphones in Singapore contributed to the rise in online commercial crime cases.

They also added that “A significant proportion of online commercial crimes are committed remotely by foreign syndicates that are hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet.”