71 arrested for conducting job scams, 29 to be charged over money mule activities

The anti-scam enforcement operation that nabbed the 71 people was conducted between Sept 20 and Sept 23.
The anti-scam enforcement operation that nabbed the 71 people was conducted between Sept 20 and Sept 23.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - A total of 71 people, aged between 16 and 62, were arrested over the past four days for their suspected involvement in perpetrating job scams, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a statement on Thursday (Sept 23).

Separately, another 29 people will be charged in court on Friday (Sept 24) over money mule activities.

The anti-scam enforcement operation that nabbed the 71 people was conducted between Sept 20 and Sept 23.

Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven SPF land divisions conducted simultaneous islandwide operations and arrested 59 men and 12 women.

Investigations against 62 of them are ongoing for allegedly selling their bank accounts and selling their Singpass credentials to criminal syndicates to create new bank accounts, in some cases for returns of as much as $1,500 for each bank account sold.

Some are also believed to have rented out their bank accounts to scammers or assisted them by carrying out bank transfers and withdrawals.

In job scams, victims typically respond to job advertisements for quick cash on social media platforms and chat applications.

Scammers would then request that victims order items from online platforms in order to improve sales on these platforms, progressing from low-cost items to more expensive ones.

Victims are made to pay for the items by transferring funds to various bank accounts.

They would initially receive their payment back in full on top of a good commission.

When the scheme progresses to the point where victims have spent large sums on their orders, their job contact becomes unreachable and the victims would not receive any reimbursement for their expensive purchases.

As for the alleged money mules, the 22 men and seven women will be charged in court on Friday (Sept 24) over various offences connected to money mule activities.

These offences include cheating, money laundering, facilitating unauthorised access to computer material and carrying on an unlicensed business of providing payment service.

The 29 people allegedly provided criminal syndicates with the use of their own bank accounts, and even other people's bank accounts in some cases.

Some of them are believed to have cheated the banks into opening bank accounts so that they can hand over the ATM cards and iBanking PINs to the criminal syndicates.

Those found guilty of cheating can be jailed for up to three years and fined.

Those found guilty of money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both.

People who are found guilty of facilitating unauthorised access to computer material can be jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.

Those found guilty of carrying on an unlicensed business of providing payment service can be fined up to $125,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

The police cautioned job seekers to be wary of job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and being paid a high salary for relatively simple job responsibilities.

"Legitimate businesses will not require job seekers to utilise their own bank accounts to receive money on the businesses' behalf. These acts are common ruses used by scammers to lure individuals into carrying out illicit payment transfers on their behalf," said the police in their statement.

To avoid becoming involved in money laundering activities, members of the public should always reject requests to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer money for others, added the police.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit the Scam Alert website 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 the I-Witness website.