Police warn of new text message scam advertising fake jobs

Those who fall for the scams may unknowingly be used as money mules.
Those who fall for the scams may unknowingly be used as money mules.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has alerted the public to a new trend of scams involving text messages advertising fake jobs with attractive hourly-rated salaries.

Those who fall for the scams may unknowingly be used as money mules to launder proceeds of criminal conduct, the police warned on Thursday (April 8).

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

First, they should not click on the suspicious URL links provided. 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, purchase of cryptocurrency on behalf of someone else, or opening of new bank accounts.

They must also never 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.

SPF also warned that bank accounts will be frozen if they are used to assist in laundering money from criminal activities, and account holders will be subjected to 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 an imprisonment 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 not exceeding $125,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

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

Those who have information related to such crimes, or are unsure whether a message received is a scam, may call SPF's hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at the Singapore Police Force's website.