$874k lost to illegal online bets, app scams

Victims lost at least $874,000 to illegal online betting websites and app scams last year, the police said yesterday.

The police said they received at least 13 reports of such scams last year, where victims often befriend scammers through online dating platforms such as Tinder, OkCupid and PakTor before they are introduced to online betting applications or websites.

In some instances, scammers convinced the victims that these platforms contained loopholes which would allow those placing bets to reap easy profits.

To place the bets, victims are required to open a betting account with the platform.

They would then be given a bank account number to deposit their money for use as betting credits, and could also cash out their winnings.

However, the victims were subsequently told that their betting accounts had been frozen and that they would need to deposit more money in order to cash out their winnings.

The scammers became uncontactable and the websites inaccessible after the additional money was transferred.

The public are advised to be wary when befriending strangers on any online platform, and not to be easily lured by the promise of easy winnings.

It is an offence to place bets on illegal online betting sites or applications, and the public should report them to the authorities.

Those with information on such scams or similar crimes can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or go to the police website.

For scam-related advice, the public can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or go to the anti-scam website at www.scamalert.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline '$874k lost to illegal online bets, app scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe