A 25-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday (11 April) in relation to credit-for-sex scams. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) stated that it received at least 164 reports on credit-for-sex scams in the first 3 months of the year. In these cases, victims lost more than S$389,000.
According to the police, the scam involved female suspects befriending male victims through social media platforms such as Wechat and then asking them to buy gift cards or online shopping credits in exchange for a meet-up, date or the promise of sexual service.
The victims were instructed to buy the cards and credits at AXS machines or convenience stores, before sending images of the receipts together with PIN numbers to designated email accounts for the scammers to claim them. Sometimes, other members of the scam syndicates would contact the victims and ask for further payments.
“The victims never get to meet the women whom they befriended online,” the police said.
In April 2017, police said that they received reports on another variant of the said scam. Victims reported that they were told to transfer cash to a local bank account as a deposit, instead of purchasing gift cards or online credits.
“The suspect is believed to have intentionally assisted a foreign scam syndicate in receiving and transferring its benefits from criminal conduct”, the police added.
Investigations against the suspect are ongoing.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, the police advises the public to:
- Be wary of strangers who befriend you online and make offers of sexual services
- Never provide personal details about yourself when engaging with other internet users.
- Never share your payment receipts containing details such as PIN numbers with anyone.
Members of the public can also call the police hotline at 1800-255 0000, or dial ‘999’ for urgent police assistance for any information relating to this scam.
“Be wary when strangers ask to use your bank account to receive money from unknown sources, or to pass money to someone else through your account. The criminals could be using your bank accounts to deal with their illegal gains from their crimes,” the police advises.
Anyone found guilty of money laundering offences may be sentenced to an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, or a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.