Police investigate 230 people for role in various scams costing victims $2.9m in total

The victims lost more than $2.9 million.
The victims lost more than $2.9 million.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A two-week police operation conducted from Dec 19 has resulted in 230 people being investigated for their role in different scams in which victims lost more than $2.9 million.

The 388 ruses involved social media impersonation, Internet love scams, cheats using fake gambling and loan platforms as well as e-commerce fraudulent deals.

Some of the suspects were also picked up for being money mules.

Police said on Thursday (Dec 31) that the Commercial Affairs Department-led operation, which also involved seven land divisions, led to 151 men and 79 women being investigated. The youngest suspect is 16 and the oldest, 66 years old.

They are being investigated for the offence of cheating or money laundering.

Cheating carries a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine. Convicted money launderers face jail of up to 10 years, as well as a fine of up to $500,000.

Figures released by police in August showed that the amount of money lost to scams had doubled to $82 million in the first half of 2020, from $41.6 million in the same period in 2019.

E-commerce scams remained the most common, with the number of cases increasing by 73.8 per cent to 2,089 in the first half of 2020, from 1,202 in the same period in 2019.

The police on Thursday said they take a serious view of any person who may be involved in scams, adding that perpetrators will be dealt with according to the law.

To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank accounts or mobile lines as they would be held accountable if these are linked to illegal transactions, added the police.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit this website or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online.

Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.