55 people under investigation for online scams involving more than $230,000: Police

Fifty people are assisting in police investigations involving more than 150 online scams with transactions of more than $230,000.
Fifty people are assisting in police investigations involving more than 150 online scams with transactions of more than $230,000. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Fifty people are assisting in police investigations involving more than 150 online scams with transactions of more than $230,000, following a three-day operation between July 25 and 27.

In a release on Friday (July 29), police said the 55 individuals - 27 men and 28 women - are aged betweeen 17 and 72.

Most of the suspects are believed to have posed as online sellers and did not deliver the products to their buyers after receiving payment.

The products include entrance tickets to local attractions, vouchers, mobile phones and hotel room bookings.

Others are believed to have acted as money mules who received and transferred illegal funds on behalf of criminal syndicates.

 

The suspects are being investigated for the offence of cheating which carries a punishment of imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine, or for money laundering offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, which carry a punishment of imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000.

The police take a serious view against any person involved in scams, whether knowingly or unknowingly, the release said.

Anyone found to be involved in such scams will be subject to police investigations.

The police are also working closely with banks and will freeze any bank accounts found to be used to receive money from illegal sources for investigation purpose.

The suspects will not be able to utilise their bank accounts for any transactions while investigations are ongoing.

According to the police, the number of cheating cases involving e-Commerce has increased from 1,665 cases in 2014, to 2,173 cases in 2015.

The police also said that three out of four of the e-Commerce related reports lodged in 2015 were made by persons using online community marketplaces.

The police advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they make any online transactions:

  • Remember that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Before you transact, find out how the online site safeguards your interest or can help you resolve disputes
     
  • Pay only on delivery or use payment platforms with established refund policies, if advance payments are required
     
  • Reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile phone lines, as you are accountable for the transactions that pass through them