Nearly 300 people being investigated for alleged involvement in scams

The suspects are believed to be involved in 534 cases where victims lost close to $7 million.
The suspects are believed to be involved in 534 cases where victims lost close to $7 million.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Police are investigating nearly 300 people for suspected involvement in a variety of scams.

Victims lost close to $7 million in the 534 cases being probed.

The suspects - 193 men and 101 women aged between 16 and 74 - are believed to be involved in cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence, said the police in a news release on Saturday (June 5).

The scams were linked to Internet love, e-commerce, government-official impersonations, China-official impersonations, investments, jobs, fake gambling platforms and loans.

The suspects were rounded up after the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions launched a two-week operation between May 22 and Friday.

The public should "always reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile lines as you will be held accountable" if these are linked to crimes, said the police.

Separately, two men, aged 45 and 63, have been arrested for suspected involvement in a series of cheating cases as well as conspiring to illegally obtain personal information.

Between May 3 and May 12, more than 60 reports were made by victims who were allegedly cheated after responding to job advertisements posted on e-commerce platforms. They lost about $236,000.

In the advertisements, victims were told that they would first have to shop online using their own money. They were promised that payment for the items, along with a commission, would be deposited subsequently into their bank accounts.

After one or two successful attempts, they were told to make larger purchases but were not compensated.

Police investigations found that the 63-year-old, a mobile phone retailer, used customers' information to sign up for mobile lines without their knowledge, and sold prepaid cards to others, including the 45-year-old.

The latter purportedly supplied the cards to overseas clients who were believed to be scammers. He was charged in court on Saturday (June 5).

Offenders who retain illegally obtained personal information can be jailed for up to three years, fined up to $10,000, or both.

Anyone convicted of cheating can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

Money laundering carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

Providing any type of payment service in Singapore without a licence carries a fine of up to $125,000, imprisonment of up to three years, or both.