Three men nabbed over car rental and sexual service scams

Three suspects have been arrested for their involvement in a series of car rental and sexual service scams, police said in a statement yesterday.

On May 30, a man reported to the police that he was a victim of a sexual service scam, after he had responded to an online advertisement offering sexual services and paid $200 via bank transfer.

He realised that he had been scammed when, after having made the payment, he could not contact the person who posted the ad.

Then on Aug 27, police received several reports from victims of car rental scams.

They had responded to car rental ads on online portal Carousell and paid deposits of between $200 and $400 via bank transfer, but they could not contact the advertiser after that.

The police said that officers from Bedok Police Division identified three men - aged between 18 and 23 - to be behind the car rental and sexual service scams and arrested them.

At least seven victims were involved in the scams.

The 18-year-old suspect, believed to be the mastermind behind the scams, used the bank accounts of the other two suspects, aged 19 and 23, to receive funds from the victims, the police said.

Those convicted of cheating may be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

The number of cases of e-commerce scams rose from 1,013 in the first six months of last year to 1,435 in the same period this year. E-commerce scams made up the highest reported number of cases among all types of scams.

The total amount of losses climbed from $870,000 to $1.2 million in that period.

For scam-related advice, members of the public can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg

Those who wish to provide information on scams may call the police on 1800-255-0000, or go to www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2019, with the headline 'Three men nabbed over car rental and sexual service scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe