The Police have arrested two men, aged 18 and 33, for their suspected involvement in a series of China Officials Impersonation scams.
On 1 and 2 June 2018, the Police received reports that a 51-year-old woman and a 55-year-old woman had been cheated in a phone scam respectively. Both victims received calls from unknown men who claimed to be from the Police. The callers told the women that they were involved in a transnational moneylaundering crime and instructed them to withdraw all their savings for investigations. The 51-year old woman transferred $100,000 to a bank account and the 55-year-old woman handed over $310,000 to an unknown man.
Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department conducted investigations and arrested two Malaysians men aged 18 and 33 on 4 June 2018. Preliminary investigations revealed that they had received criminal proceeds that were linked to China Officials Impersonation scams and were believed to be involved in other similar cases. Cash amounting to $590,000 were seized as case exhibit.
The two men will be charged in court on 6 June 2018 with dishonestly receiving stolen property. Another suspect that was involved in the case was earlier charged in court on 2 June 2018 with offence of dishonestly receiving stolen property.
Director of Commercial Affairs Department, Mr. David Chew said China Officials Impersonation Scams is a serious crime concern. The number of victims have more than doubled from Jan to Apr 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 and the losses suffered by the victims per case can be sizable. This is well illustrated in this recent case involving two Singaporean victims who lost a total of $410,000 to the criminals. These scams involve well organised overseas syndicates who use automated phone calls and call-spoofing technology as well as social media messaging platforms, eg whatsapp in this case, to target their victims. The Police reminds members of the public that if the caller claims to be a foreign government official demanding money from you, you are advised to ignore their demands as this is in all likelihood a scam. Whilst the Police are determined to disrupt or dismantle these syndicates and their network of money mules, it is also important that members of the public protect themselves and their love ones from becoming a victim of these scams.
The Police would like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls to surrender money:
Ignore such calls and the caller's instructions. No government agency will demand payment through an undocumented medium like 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 foreign residents receiving calls from persons claiming to be police officers or government officials from your home country, please call your Embassy/High Commission to verify the claims of the caller.
Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a 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 at the behest of such callers.
Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively.
Source: Singapore Police Force