We’re all acutely aware of online scams and might even be able to spot a scam within nanoseconds—but this AXS scam is so ingenious, even the most careful person could fall to it.
On 1 August 2017, a Facebook user related an incident that exposed a scam that might have been ongoing for a while.
Here’s what you need to know about this AXS station scam because you could be the next victim.
What is an AXS Machine?
For the benefit of people who might not be familiar with AXS machine, here’s what it is: it’s a machine for people to pay bills, fines or even pay CPF contributions.
How it works is that firstly, you key in what bills, or whatever stuff, you want to pay. Usually, people pay more than one bill so as to save time.
After you’ve keyed in the bill details (or scanned the barcode on your bills), you’ll be redirected to a payment page, whereby you can pay with your ATM card.
How does the scam work?
Now, imagine you’ve keyed in a few of your bills, and went back to the main page. If you walk off, and the next person just keyed in his or her bill immediately, he’ll end up at the payment page with both your bills and his bills.
And that’s how it happens: the person merely needs to key in his bill details and leave the machine. If someone who is rushing make payment without checking, he or she would become a victim of this AXS scam.
What’s the story?
According to the Facebook user Kimberly Meagan, someone apparently did that to her. Thinking that it could just be a mistake, she cancelled the previous person’s transaction and therefore did not become a victim.
However, when she passed by the AXS machine again, he saw the exact same guy doing the same thing to an old lady. The old lady was about to be a victim when Kimberly approached her and cancelled the transaction immediately.
By then, the man, who would usually linger around (maybe to check if the bills are paid), had disappeared.
Image: Facebook (Kimberly Meagan)
How much is the scam?
The bill came out to be $300. And let’s face it: for this scam to work, the amount can’t be too high, if not it’ll be too obvious.
Where did this happen?
According to Channel NewsAsia, this happened in Sengkang. But if you think you’re safe, read on.
It turned out that this isn’t a new scam
You might dismiss it as a person who’s being forced into a corner to get others to pay for his bill, and that it’s an isolated case, but apparently, it doesn’t seem so.
After the Facebook post went viral, with well over 7K Shares as of now, people have contacted Kimberly and told her that this had happened in other places as well. In other words, it isn’t new.
It only looks new because someone has finally uncovered it and posted it online.
The scammer can be identified, right?
Guess that’s most people’s first response, since it happened in broad daylight with a need for the scammer to physically key in something first.
Apparently, the man was identified as mid-thirties with a cap, and that’s just that.
But to be honest, AXS could track based on the bill. Maybe it’s so ingenious, it can be dismissed as an “honest mistake”? After all, the scammer could just use that argument, couldn’t he?
Did AXS has a system to prevent this?
If you key in your bills and leave it inactive for three minutes, it will time-out by itself and clear the data. But let’s face it: no one would wait for three minutes when it’s his or her turn. You should have seen the queue in every AXS station.
What’s AXS response?
They were not aware of such scams, and would monitor the situation closely. And of course, they urge us to check the details on the payment page before making any payment.
What should you do?
While you might know about this scam, the elderly might not. In fact, I’ve come across many of them not knowing how to use the machine, and I’ve to guide them.
What’s even scarier is that one of them, when I was guiding him, did not even bother to check the total amount when I asked him to do so because he seemed embarrassed that he was holding up the queue, and just wanted it to be done with quickly (it was a SAM Machine BTW).
It’s therefore imperative that since you know about this, tell them about this scam. After all, we should all check the bill details before payment, right?
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