How A Vietnamese Tourist Got Scammed in Singapore
On November 4, 30-year-old Vietnamese tourist Mr Pham Van Thoai, was made to cry and beg for his money back at Mobile Air, an unscrupulous electronics shop that still continues its business operations till today - cheating tourists, foreign students and vulnerable low-income migrant workers from Singapore.
Mr Thoai paid S$960 for an iPhone6 at the shop in cash with the money he saved up from his monthly income of S$200 as a factory worker. He intended to give the phone to his girlfriend as a birthday present.
The fraudulent mobile shop then asked Mr Thoai to sign a warranty document in English. Capitalizing on the fact that Mr Thoai could not understand the document, the salesman made Mr Thoai sign the document for a ridiculous S$1,500 warranty without explaining what the content was. Realizing what he had gotten into, Mr Thoai tried to beg for his money back but the sales staff and shop owner Mr Jover Chew just laughed at him. None of the passers-by at Sim Lim Square who witnessed the terrible ordeal were willing to help him.
Mr Thoai's girlfriend called the Singapore Police Force but they did completely nothing about it. After appraoching the Consumers Association of Singapore for help, the deceived tourist only received a partial refund of $400, which was $550 less than what he had paid.
Fraudster's Rise to "Fame" on Social Media
A video of this heinous deed was uploaded to social networks and quickly drew a bevvy of responses from disgusted netizens. Singapore's trolling facebook community SMRT Ltd (Feedback) was instrumental to the news dissemination on social media.
What are some of the Social Media Lessons we can glean from this fiasco?
1) Timing, timing, timing
Strike when the iron is hot. Timely posts make a huge difference. Being at the pulse of worldwide topics is as important as being at the pulse of local news that matters, especially in the country where your brand has established a presence.
2) Evoke Emotion with Humanity at the Heart of the Topic
By choosing a topic that resonated with the masses and touched the hearts of millions of Singaporeans, SMRT Ltd (Feedback) reached 2.6 million readers in the week of the incident, far surpassing their already impressive average of 3 million readers per month. All this is despite the fact that they only have close to 155,000 fans who like their facebook page.
Because the Singapore authorities failed to right the wrong , Singapore netizens strongly felt the need to help the tourist who was cheated by a fraudulent shop.
Such a strong sense to uphold righteousness, vigilantism or citizen chivalry resulted in a group of Singaporeans raising money for the Vietnamese tourist. Over US$12,000 (S$15,500) was raised on indiegogo.com.
However, Mr Thoai only accepted S$550 from the donations of kind people and nothing more.
3) Method of engagement
Find out what works for your brand engagement by constantly implementing testing and measurement for all activities.
SMRT Ltd (Feedback) had by far one of their most popular posts with over 13,000 likes and 1500 shares on the villainous owner of Sim Lim Square's Mobile Air shop.
We are lean, mean and down with the local scene. To find out what works for your brand and how to craft content that's compelling to boost your business' social media engagement efforts, contact us today.