SINGAPORE - A total of eight suspects have been arrested over two separate Ponzi-like job scams.
In the first case, the police said on Sunday (March 20) that they have arrested five men, aged between 18 and 26, over job scams involving an entity known as
E-commerce Affiliate Business (EAB).
Four of them will be charged on Monday with disclosing their Singpass details, which were used to open corporate bank accounts to launder proceeds of cheating.
The arrests were made during an anti-scam operation from March 8 to 18 that also resulted in two other men and seven women aged between 18 and 72 being placed under investigation.
The police said they had acted after receiving several reports of WhatsApp messages, Facebook and Instagram posts as well as online advertisements promoting highly paid part-time jobs related to affiliate marketing.
In the scams, victims would be offered fake online jobs involving easy tasks such as making online purchases. To perform more job tasks and earn their commissions, the victims were told to recruit more members to upgrade their membership status.
In most cases, the victims would be convinced that it was a legitimate job as they would receive commissions and profits during the early stages of their memberships.
Victims would realise that they had been scammed when they did not receive further commissions or were unable to make withdrawals from their member accounts.
Preliminary investigations revealed that EAB is believed to be running Ponzi-like schemes where the new job seekers' money was used to pay promised commissions to existing job holders.
Investigations also found that four of the five arrested had disclosed their Singpass login details and their own bank accounts to unknown persons for easy money.
If found guilty of disclosing their Singpass details, they will face a maximum fine of $10,000, be jailed for a maximum of three years, or both.
The police are investigating the remaining three men and seven women.
In the second series of arrests, three men aged between 26 and 30 were arrested by the police over Ponzi-like job scams related to a bogus company.
On Thursday, the police received information on an emerging job scam platform where victims received advertisements on messaging apps and social media platforms related to highly paid jobs on the platform.
This job scam portal said it specialised in providing marketing services for major
e-commerce websites and claimed to have created 5,000 jobs in nine countries around the world.
In this scam, fake jobs like making purchases with various e-commerce companies were listed on the platform for victims to complete. To perform the job and earn the commissions, the job seekers would be asked to sign up for free membership accounts on websites provided by the scammers.
After signing up for the free membership, the job seekers would be asked to top up their accounts on the platform with cryptocurrency to start performing the job to earn commissions.
In most cases, victims were convinced of the legitimacy of the site from receiving commissions and profit during the early stages of their memberships.
They would realise that they had been scammed when they did not receive further commissions or were unable to make withdrawals from their member accounts.
The three men who have been arrested are currently being investigated for facilitating the scam by advertising and recruiting potential job seekers as members.
The offence of such frauds carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, a fine, or both.
The police urged job seekers to be wary of online job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and being paid a high salary for relatively simple responsibilities.
They added that legitimate businesses would not require job seekers to make upfront payments to secure the job offers and earn commissions.
The police said: "These acts are common ruses used by scammers to lure individuals into participating in their schemes or scams."
Those who wish to provide information related to such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit it via I-Witness.
For scam-related advice, they may call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688 or go to this website.