Cheated - men seeking sex, women seeking love

More than a thousand men were scammed into handing over money for sexual services that never materialised.
More than a thousand men were scammed into handing over money for sexual services that never materialised. ST PHOTO: SHIN MIN

Singapore saw a sharp rise in online crime cases last year, with men making up the biggest group of victims: More than a thousand were tempted into handing over money for sexual services that never materialised.

There were slightly over 1,200 such cases, up from just 66 in 2014, according to annual police crime statistics released yesterday.

Victims, aged from 14 to 69, were cheated out of almost $3 million in total, by women purporting to offer sex in exchange for online credits or gift cards.

The largest amount in a single case was about $74,000.

However, it was women who were more willing to dig deep in a bid to find love - only to realise that the man of their dreams had cheated them of their savings.

Although there were only 383 cases in comparison - up from 198 in 2014 - some $12 million was lost to Internet love cheats.

Credit-for-sex, love and e-commerce scams were the three crime areas showing the largest rises last year, with the number of offences pushing the overall crime rate up by 4 per cent to 33,608 cases.

But almost all other crimes such as violent or serious property crimes, house-breaking, theft and cyber extortion went down, with some hitting 20-year lows.

Lim Yi Han and Seow Bei Yi

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'Cheated - men seeking sex, women seeking love'. Print Edition | Subscribe