Police in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang have revealed how three local university students, who were arrested on Thursday, managed to scam over VND2 billion (US$86,000) out of nearly 300 people by offering fake online sales promotions.
The municipal police department previously apprehended and initiated legal proceedings against Le Ngoc Minh Hoang, Pham Thanh Hai, and Luong Thanh Quoc Huy, all 20, who are studying at different universities in Da Nang.
The three young men are charged for “using computer network, telecommunication networks, and electronic means to appropriate property.”
Police reports showed that the suspects had scammed nearly 300 victims and pocketed more than VND2 billion ($86,000) since January.
Officers was first made aware of the crime in June, when one of the victims, L.H.T., who resides in Ho Chi Minh City, reported being swindled of VND22 million ($946) when trying to purchase a motorcycle online.
The vehicle, whose market price is around VND70 million ($3,000), was offered on Shopee, an e-commerce platform, at the price of VND30 million ($1,290), T. stated, adding that he was required to pay VND22 million upfront.
The products were never delivered and the con artists would always ‘disappear’ after receiving the upfront payments.
|The three college students were taken into custody by police in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Police also received ten other similar cases from victims across the country within June.
An investigation later revealed that Hoang, Hai, and Huy were behind the dishonest scheme.
They took advantage to multiple online shopping sites, namely Shopee, muaban.net, and raovat.net, posing as people who want to sell motorbikes at cheap prices.
In one case, the scammers advertised a Honda SH Scooter, which normally costs about VND70 million, at only VND30 million ($1,290).
Buyers were asked to wire part of the payment to designated bank accounts in advance. They were so distracted by the dirt cheap prices that they were not aware of the scam.
Officers also found out that Hoang and Hai were the masterminds, claiming they spent the money on shopping, partying, and traveling.
Meanwhile, Huy bought many ATM cards of other students in his school at VND1 million ($43) apiece and sold them to Hoang and Hai at VND2.5 million ($107) apiece. He was also aware of Hoang and Hai’s dishonest activities.