Police flag text message scam advertising fake jobs

The police have alerted the public to a new trend of scams involving text messages advertising fake jobs with attractive hourly rated pay.

Those who fall prey to the scams may unknowingly be used as money mules to launder proceeds of criminal conduct, the police warned yesterday.

In a statement, they advised members of the public to follow four precautionary measures when they receive such text messages.

First, they should not click on the suspicious URL links. They are advised to always verify the authenticity of information with official websites or alternative sources.

Second, they should not accept job offers that require the use of personal bank accounts to perform money transfers for others or purchase of cryptocurrency on behalf of someone else, or the opening of new bank accounts.

They must also not send money to strangers or people whom they have not met in person.

Finally, the public is advised not to share bank account login credentials with anyone. Bank account holders are responsible for all transactions made through their personal account.

The police warned that bank accounts will be frozen if they are used to assist in laundering money from crimes, and account holders will face criminal investigations.

Money mules may be liable for money laundering offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, which carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

They may also be liable for offences under the Payment Services Act, which carries a fine of up to $125,000, imprisonment for a term of up to three years, or both.

Members of the public who suspect they have received suspicious funds in their bank account are advised not to withdraw or transfer the money, and should report the incident immediately to the police and their bank, the police said.

Those unsure if a message is a scam, or have information related to such crimes, may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2021, with the headline 'Police flag text message scam advertising fake jobs'. Subscribe