67 nabbed for online cheating cases involving more than $630k

A posed photo showing a man holding a mobile phone and handing out money. More than 60 people believed to be involved in 187 cases of cheating were arrested in a three day operation this week.
A posed photo showing a man holding a mobile phone and handing out money. More than 60 people believed to be involved in 187 cases of cheating were arrested in a three day operation this week. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More than 60 people believed to be involved in 187 cases of cheating were arrested this week, police said.

Police also warned that cheating cases involving online marketplaces have increased.

In a three-day operation between Oct 17 and 19, 67 persons were rounded up for their suspected involvement in various scams.

The 28 men and 39 women, aged from 15 to 65, may be involved in scams involving more than $630,000.

Most of the suspects are believed to have collected payment for items advertised online, which were not delivered to the buyers.

Other suspects were involved as "money mules", who helped the criminal syndicates to receive illegal funds in their local bank accounts.

From January to June this year, a total of 1,145 cases of cheating via e-commerce were reported.

There has been an increase of 13 per cent compared to the same period last year.

 

Approximately seven out of 10 of the victims had used online community marketplaces including Carousell, Gumtree and Facebook for their online purchases.

Many of the reports lodged involved the sale of admission tickets to local attractions, concerts or events and new models of mobile phones, police said.

A person convicted of cheating can be jailed up to 10 years and fined. Those convicted of money laundering can be jailed up to 10 years and fined up to $500,000.

Money found from illegal sources will be frozen for the purpose of investigations.

Police cautioned members of the public to be vigilant when they shop online nearing the festive season.

They can take the following precautions:

- Buy from authorised dealers for a safer transaction or choose shopping platforms that have arrangements to only release payment upon confirmation of receipt of the item.

- Choose to pay on delivery. When you use community marketplaces, remember that the other party is a stranger and be careful if you are asked to pay or provide personal or bank information.

- Reject requests to use your bank account or handphone lines, as you are accountable for the transactions in your accounts.