SINGAPORE: A total of 100 people suspected of being involved in various scams are under police investigation following a three-day islandwide operation, police said in a news release on Friday (Mar 23).
The operation was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday. The suspects, 57 men and 43 women aged 15 to 64, are allegedly involved in 277 cases of scams involving more than S$770,000.
They are investigated for cheating or money laundering offences.
Police said they have observed that criminal syndicates recruit money mules to make use of their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer the ill-gotten gains from other victims of scams.
These criminal syndicates usually reach out to online users by befriending them through various dating websites and social media platforms, or pretending to offer them a "fast-cash" or "work-from-home" job offer.
The criminals have also instructed money mules to open new bank accounts on the pretext of various reasons, such as to receive money for their business purpose, before telling the mules to pass the ATM cards, PINs and bank accounts to others.
AdvertisementAdvertisementThe criminal syndicates would then control the bank accounts from overseas.
Police reminded the public that bank account holders are "accountable for any transaction made in their accounts".
"Even if they had acted unwittingly, they will be liable for money laundering offences if their bank accounts are found to have been used to receive criminal proceeds. Each bank account holder will be investigated and their bank accounts will be frozen for the purpose of investigation," said police.
Police also reminded the public to take the following precautions to avoid becoming a victim of a scam:
- Your personal bank accounts should only be for your own use and you should not agree to receive any money on behalf of others, especially if the sources of the funds are unknown.
- 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;
- Do not panic if you receive a call from someone claiming to be a government official asking you for payment to avoid being deported or arrested. Bear in mind that scammers can employ caller-ID spoofing technology to make numbers that appear on your caller-ID look like they are from official government hotline numbers. Ignore the calls as no government agency will ask for payments through a phone call.
- When making purchases through online classifieds, be wary of people selling items for prices that sound too good to be true. Remember that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Whenever possible, arrange for a physical meet-up and pay only on delivery.
- Be mindful that although scammers may provide a copy of an Identification Card or Driver’s licence to gain your trust, it may not necessarily belong to the person communicating with you online. If you are shown a snapshot of an NRIC, you may check its validity on ICA’s iEnquiry portal at https://ienquiry.ica.gov.sg/mobile/vCheck.do. Do not deal with the party if the NRIC is found to be invalidated.
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