Police investigating 17 people for suspected involvement in online purchase scams

A victim of an online purchase scam with a photo of a bicycle he paid $400 for, but never received. Seventeen people are being investigated by police for their suspected involvement in more than 70 online purchase scams, involving a total value of ov
A victim of an online purchase scam with a photo of a bicycle he paid $400 for, but never received. Seventeen people are being investigated by police for their suspected involvement in more than 70 online purchase scams, involving a total value of over $134,000. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Seventeen people are being investigated by police for their suspected involvement in more than 70 online purchase scams, involving a total value of over $134,000.

The suspects - 10 men and 7 women aged between 19 and 43 - were identified over the course of a two-day islandwide operation which ended on Thursday, police said on Friday.

The scams would often involve goods being offered online at attractive prices. Victims would be told to make advance payments via bank transfers but the goods would not be delivered.

In a statement, police said: "In some cases, victims were even asked to make further payments for fictitious reasons such as payments for customs duties, delivery charges and taxes."

Investigations are ongoing.

If convicted of cheating, the suspects face up to 10 years' jail, and a fine. They may also be investigated for money laundering offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act - which carry a punishment of up to 10 years' jail and a fine of up to S$500,000.

Police Commercial Affairs Department director Tan Boon Gin said: "In the current festive season, members of the public are reminded to exercise caution when doing their online shopping. Consumers should check out the track record of the business and only deal with people they know and trust."