Police arrest Instagram seller suspected of IDR600 million designer handbag scam

Photo: AFP

It’s always a risk making online purchases from unverified sellers on Instagram, especially if their account handle features a bunch of random numbers.

The Jakarta Metro Police yesterday held a press conference parading several recently arrested crime suspects to the media. One of them was a 39-year-old woman named Veronica who was named a suspect for an online scam in which she allegedly stole an estimated IDR600 million (US$40,450) from duped customers.

According to the police, Veronica created an online shop on Instagram with the handle @bebebags21199 which showcased designer handbags at relatively cheap prices.

“The suspect promoted designer handbags on Instagram. Her victims, who were interested, contacted her. Her victims were attracted by the lower-than-usual prices she offered,” Jakarta Metro Police Spokesman Argo Yuwono told the media, as quoted by Suara.

One of those victims, identified by their initials TAC, wired IDR37.5 million for a handbag from Veronica. For several months, Veronica repeatedly delayed the bag’s shipment for various reasons until she finally blocked TAC from all channels of communication.

TAC was among four others who reported Veronica to the police. After investigating the case, the Jakarta Metro Police arrested Veronica on July 24 and charged her with fraud, which is punishable by up to four years in prison.

The police say that there were many more who were scammed by Veronica, many of them from outside Jakarta.

The Communications and Information Ministry (Kemenkominfo) recently urged the public to take advantage of cekrekening.id, a government database containing bank accounts that may be used by online scammers and have been flagged as fraudulent. The ministry says there have been over 16,000 flagged bank accounts in the website so far.

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