Following a three-day operation conducted by Jurong Police Division from 21 to 23 January 2019, 15 men and 11 women, aged between 16 and 58, are assisting in investigations for their suspected involvement in e-commerce scams and commercial crime-related offences. The suspects are believed to be involved in 53 cases where victims have lost more than $500,000.
20 of the suspects are believed to have allowed their bank accounts to be used by criminals to facilitate scams. These include online purchase scams advertising the sale of concert tickets and electronic products, investment scams, loan scams and impersonation scams. They are being investigated for the offence of cheating under the Penal Code which carries a punishment of imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine, or money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act which carries a punishment of imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or fine of up to $500,000.
The other six suspects are being investigated for the offence of criminal breach of trust as a servant under the Penal Code which carries a punishment of imprisonment which may extend to 15 years and shall also be liable to a fine.
Commander of Jurong Police Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Devrajan Bala commended his officers for the hard work in the identification and rounding up of the suspects in these cases. Police take a serious view against any person who may be involved in scams and frauds, and the perpetrators will be dealt with accordingly to the law.
Members of the public are advised to adopt the following measures to avoid falling victim to online purchase scams:
Do not share your personal information such as your identification number, bank account number, One-Time Passwords, or SMS-verification codes with anyone. Your personal information may be abused by scammers;
Bear in mind that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Before performing a transaction on an online shopping site, find out how the site safeguards your interests or can help you solve disputes;
Buy goods from authorised dealers. If advanced payments are required, use shopping platforms that provide arrangements to only release your payment to the seller upon your receipt of the item; and
Be mindful that although scammers may provide a copy of an identification card or driver's license to gain your trust, it may not necessarily belong to the person communicating with you online.
To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile lines as you will be held accountable if these accounts are linked to illegal transactions.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
Source: Singapore Police Force