SINGAPORE - A 30-year-old Nigerian man and a 26-year-old Malaysian woman have been arrested for a series of Internet love scams in which victims lost at least $237,000.
The scams reported in Malaysia and Singapore were solved through joint efforts by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP).
The police said on Friday (April 5) that the duo were arrested on March 27 by officers from RMP's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), acting on information provided by SPF's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).
The two were caught in an apartment in Melaka. Several telecommunication devices, ATM cards and a laptop were seized.
According to the police, the pair is believed to have been involved in at least 11 scam cases.
The police said they have been receiving reports of the scams since September last year, and that CAD and CCID have since been working closely and sharing information with each other on such cases.
In these cases, victims would usually meet the scammers online and subsequently get into online relationships with them.
The scammers would then tell the victims that they would be sending them parcels containing luxurious goods from abroad.
The victims would later receive phone calls from people claiming to be customs officers, saying that the gifts sent by their "online lovers" had been detained at the checkpoints. These "officers" would then demand that they pay a fine.
In a statement, CAD's director David Chew thanked CCID's director, Commissioner Dato' Pahlawan Mazlan Mansor, and his officers from the Operations and Intelligence Division of CCID for their strong support and commitment.
"We are working very closely with our foreign counterparts to fight transnational criminals who perpetrate scams behind the veil of the Internet," he said.
The police advised members of the public to be careful when befriending strangers online, as well as when they are asked to send money to bank accounts of people who they do not know or who claim to be government officers.
For more information on scams, the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.
Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.