For about six months in 2019, Ng Wei Chang spearheaded a syndicate to cheat EZ-Link of more than $265,800. On Friday (Feb 5), the 26-year-old was sentenced to one year and seven months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to unauthorised access to computer material and receiving benefits from criminal conduct.
The police were alerted to the ruse on May 27, 2019, after EZ Link lodged a report stating that it discovered “a large spike in bad debts” from EZlink cards using the EZ-Reload programme.
The programme on the EZLink mobile app allows users to have their cards automatically topped up with up to $50 using a debit or credit card designated by the user should the value left in the EZlink card drop below $0.
If there are insufficient funds in the debit or credit card used, the user would be notified through an automatically generated text message to remind him to make payment for the top-up.
Ng cheated the system by registering at least 125 EZ-link accounts and linking at least 1,221 EZ-link cards to these accounts on the app between Jan 1 and June 14, 2019.
He got another 29 EZ-link cards from his accomplices. Ng then applied for many replacement debit cards from DBS, getting at least 165 cards in his name. He did this to get around a restriction on top-ups from the same card.
Ng used DBS’ Video Teller Machines to obtain up to two replacement cards per day for each DBS debit card he had. He got another 74 DBS debit cards from at least 15 others.
He recruited his friends to supply their DBS debit card information to him, and to apply for replacement cards, offering them between $50 and $200 for each debit card.
On 5,323 occasions, Ng got top-ups on the 1,250 ez-link cards by bringing the stored value below $0, and triggering the EZ-Reload programme.
The total amount topped up in the 1,250 EZ-link cards was at least $265,800. But he did not deposit enough money in the linked DBS bank accounts or make payment for the automatic top-ups. He ignored the text message reminders.
Ng then used OCBC ATMs to convert the stored value in the EZ-link cards into cash after they were topped-up using the programme. After he found he could no longer get cash this way, he made purchases with the EZ-link cards and recruited accomplices to buy or resell cigarettes.
He then kept the proceeds from the sale of the cigarettes and gave accomplices a commission. One accomplice gave him not more than $1,500 in cash from the resale of the cigarettes which had been purchased using the ez-link cards.
Ng has not made restitution to EZ-Link. Source