When caterer Jolene Robin received an order for 150 lunch sets with beverages over three consecutive days, she was excited.
The order was worth a few thousand ringgit, but little did she know, she was about to be cheated.
The 43-year-old from Penampang in Sabah said her friend, who first got the offer from a person claiming to be an army officer about a week ago, had referred the order to her.
“I contacted the person and wanted to get more details. He said that he needed 150 lunch sets for the new recruits in the territorial armies,” Ms Jolene shared, adding that she tried asking for a deposit from the man.
However, having dealt with government orders previously, Ms Jolene knew that she would have to submit a claim for payment only after the orders were sent.
“So I did not get suspicious when the person said that he was not able to pay a deposit. He had asked me for a quotation and told me that he would pay me in cash once the food had been delivered,” she said.
On the delivery date of May 30, Ms Jolene said she received a call from another man, who claimed to be from the same department.
The man asked Ms Jolene if she could provide them with packed ready-to-eat meals and 20 cartons of packet drinks.
Throughout the process, she said that three people with different phone numbers contacted her.
“I told them I did not know any supplier for such meals. The man referred me to a supplier, but I did not proceed with the order because I did not have enough money to pay first,” she said.
Ms Jolene then started to feel suspicious about the whole deal.
She said that in the evening when her customers were supposed to collect the meal sets, they could not be reached.
“When I checked my phone, I saw their messages on WhatsApp had all been deleted. They also blocked me,” shared Ms Jolene, who has been in the food industry for three years.
She then took to social media, offering those who wished to buy food and drinks to drop by at her stall at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association compound, where the Kaamatan Festival was being held.
“I sold each lunch pack for only RM5 (S$1.50),” she said, adding that she was lucky all 150 sets were sold.
“I am sharing this so that people are aware and will not fall for this scam,” she added.
Not long after her story went viral, an army man based in Kuala Lumpur came forward to inform her that his name had been used by the scammers.
He has lodged a police report to clear his name.
It is learnt that the district Commercial Crimes Investigation Department has received several reports on the matter and was investigating the case.
Source : ST