Woman arrested over suspected involvement in rental scams where victims lost more than $35k

SINGAPORE - A 56-year-old woman has been arrested for her suspected involvement in a series of rental scams with victims losing more than $35,000.

In such scams, victims are told to make payment to the scammer in order to secure a unit for rent.

On Friday (Aug 26), the police said that between March and April this year, the authorities received several reports from victims who had responded to listings on Carousell offering units for rent.

The victims were told to pay a deposit to the woman after viewing the unit to secure its rental. After receiving these deposits, the woman allegedly became uncontactable.

Through follow-up investigations, officers from Woodlands Police Division established the identity of the woman and arrested her on Friday, the police said.

"Preliminary investigations revealed that she is believed to be involved in at least 20 similar cases of rental scams with losses amounting to more than $35,000."

She will be charged on Saturday with the offence of cheating.

If found guilty, she can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

At least 997 people here have lost a total of $3.9 million since January this year after falling victims to scammers posing as property agents, the police said.

Members of the public are reminded that they should verify the details and contact number of any real estate agent they are dealing with, the police said.

They can also ask to visit the unit and verify with the owner if the rental offer is genuine.

For more information on scams, the public can call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or visit this website.

This month, a former real estate agent was sentenced to 4 ½ years' jail after cheating 71 victims of $138,365 in total.

Ramanathan Sujithran, now 54, had asked them to pay him a sum of money as deposit to confirm rental but ended up cancelling the agreement and pocketing the funds.

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