20th February 2020, Singapore – On 19th Feb 2020, we received a message from a stranger informing us that his equipment might be lost due to a possible scam. This victim had rented out his Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 II to a person by the name of “Erman”. After some difficulty in contacting “Erman”, he took to google and found our article about another scam that had happened last year. (You can read it here)
Image: Screen shot of the conversation with the Victim.
Read Also: Camera Rental Scam 2019
After we established what had happened, we launched into action sending out warnings to all the merchants in our network to take note of this person as from our last experience with other scammers, they will usually try to offload the equipment for cash at Used Gear centres or quick-selling on Carousell. A total of 22 stores were alerted within 30 mins.
After we had warned our merchants, a warning post had also been posted across photography FB groups which garnered close to 50 shares within minutes.
Read Also: Scammers Arrested 2019
The public saw the post and started sharing more information with us to which we had advised to everyone if they had rental or loan out any equipment to this “Erman”. A few others had also stepped up and messaged us. Some also shared and commented which suddenly we realized many had probably fallen victim again to yet another Camera Scam.
Read Also: More Camera Scams 2017
It is not known for now if this Erman is linked to the previous scammers which we were previously informed by the Police that it may be a syndicate that is behind these spams. More information surfaced when we were informed that this Erman has an upcoming trial at the Singapore Courts on 26th Feb 2020 and it is unknown if his trial is linked to other related scams.
Another public member sent us a link dating back to 2013 which we are not sure if the Erman in this scam is the same Erman in the link. You can read it here.
We hope the law can catch up with this Erman and his accomplices soon.
Some advise from us –
If you are renting out your equipment as an individual:
– always make sure meet the person at a place with CCTV.
– always take photo of their NRIC.
– always collect a deposit worth 50% of the gear value.
– If photo on NRIC is different or deposite not given, do not rent out.
– if you spotted someone selling photography gear at a really incredible price on Carousell and you sense something fishy, inform the Police.
From what we know, since the 2019 incident, they may not offload at Used Gear Centres since their stupidity in doing so had lead to arrests. Instead, they may just try to offload via Carousell or Ebay or other social media platforms. So look out for this Erman.
Those with more information on Erman, or had been a victim of Erman or other photography-gear scammers, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
So what to do if you suspect a Scam or had been approached by Scammers?
1) CALL ANTI-SCAM HELPLINE: 1800-722-6688
2) VISIT SCAM ALERT SITE (By POLICE)
Contributing Editor – Melody Tan
Loves quiet walks along beaches, has a mind of her own and decides everything in life in either black or white with nothing in between. Her priority these days revolves around her 2 lovely kids & teaching them music or photography. A lover of yoga and an avid traveler, Melody aims to visit at least 30 countries before she reach 40 years old – from what we know, she had completed 27 as of 2018.
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