18 investigated for suspected involvement in $103,000 scam, commercial crime cases

SINGAPORE - Following a two-day operation conducted from Tuesday (Aug 28) to Wednesday by officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division, 13 men and five women are currently assisting in investigations for their suspected involvement in various scams and commercial crime-related offences.

The suspects, aged between 17 and 67, are believed to be involved in 72 cases where victims have lost a total of more than $103,180. These cases include e-commerce and loan scams that were reported in Sengkang, Hougang and Yishun.

The suspects are being investigated for the offence of cheating under the Penal Code, or money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

If convicted of cheating, they could face imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine. If convicted of money laundering, they could face imprisonment for up to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $500,000.

The police are advising members of the public to adopt the following measures to avoid falling victim to online purchase scams:

Firstly, do not share your personal information such as your identification number, bank account number, one-time passwords, or SMS-verification codes with anyone, as they may be abused by scammers.

Secondly, bear in mind that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Before performing a transaction, find out how the online site safeguards your interest or can help you resolve disputes.

Thirdly, buy goods from authorised dealers. If advanced payments are required, use shopping platforms that provide arrangements to only release your payment to the seller upon your receipt of the item.

Finally, be mindful that although scammers may provide a copy of an Identification Card or a Driver's licence to gain your trust, it may not necessarily belong to the person communicating with you online.

The police said in a statement: "To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use your bank account or cellphone lines as you will be held accountable if there are illegal transactions found in the accounts."

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.