On 1 May 2019, the Police received a report where the victims were made to pay a ransom to secure their child's release.
Preliminary investigations revealed that a 15-year-old teenager received an unsolicited call, purportedly from a scammer who claimed to be a police officer from China. The scammer claimed that there is a police warrant against him in China for money laundering offences. To cancel the warrant, the teenager had to transfer monies to a bank account in China. However, as the teenager did not have money, the scammer instructed him to get his parents to pay through a staged kidnap. The student complied with the instructions of the scammer and checked in to a hotel room along Orchard Road on 1 May 2019. He was told not to contact anyone and to take a photograph of himself being tied up. The teenager then sent the photograph to his parents in China, requesting for a ransom to be paid to a Chinese bank account for his release. Out of fear, his parents transferred RMB 20,000 to a Chinese bank account and alerted his guardian as the student could not be contacted. Police officers were deployed to find the student, who was later found safe and sound in the hotel room.
The Police take a serious view against any person who may be involved in scams, whether knowingly or unwittingly. Anyone found to be involved in such scams will be subjected to Police investigations.
The Police would also like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties:
Ignore such calls and the caller's instructions. No government agency will instruct payment through a telephone call or other social messaging platforms (WeChat or Facebook); or ask you for personal banking information such as your internet banking passwords
For foreigners receiving calls from persons claiming to be from Police in your home country, call your Embassy/High Commission to verify the claims of the caller.
Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals. Do not make any funds transfer.
Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.
If you have any information related to such crime, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255 0000, or dial '999' for urgent Police assistance.
To seek scam-related advice, members of the public may call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg. Please share this advisory with your family and friends to prevent them from being the next scam victim.
Source: Singapore Police Force