SINGAPORE - A 29-year-old man was arrested by the police for his suspected involvement in Ponzi-like job scams that promised commissions earned merely by viewing movie trailers, in an islandwide anti-scam enforcement operation conducted on April 1 and 5.
In a statement on Wednesday (April 6), the police said they received information on March 30 about an emerging job scam platform, Moviitech, that lured job seekers through unsolicited messages on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and elsewhere that promised lucrative and easy money-making opportunities.
Job seekers were required to register for a free account and purchase a membership plan ranging from $65 to $450, before they could start earning commissions by watching movie trailers on the platform. They would also be able to increase their earnings by recruiting more people to participate on the platform.
The top-up and withdrawal transactions were done through bank transfers.
Users would be convinced that it was a legitimate job as they would receive commissions and profit during the early stages of their memberships. They would realise they had been scammed only when they did not receive further commissions or were unable to withdraw from their member accounts.
The police added that the Commercial Affairs Department had also identified another three men aged between 18 and 41 during the operations who are assisting with investigations for their suspected involvement in the scams.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the bogus company allegedly ran the Ponzi-like schemes using multi-level marketing strategies. The four men facilitated the schemes by advertising and recruiting job seekers as members and providing bank accounts to facilitate the movement of illegal funds.
Police investigations are ongoing.
Guilty individuals can draw jail sentences of up to 20 years, fines, or both, for committing this kind of fraud. For helping to commit it, the punishment is jail of up to 10 years and fines.
The police said that job seekers should be wary of online job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and a high salary for relatively simple job responsibilities.
They added that legitimate businesses would not require job seekers to make upfront payments to secure job offers and earn commissions.
"To avoid becoming involved in money-laundering activities, members of the public should always reject requests to use their personal bank or cryptocurrency accounts to receive and transfer money for others," they said.