The police revealed on Monday (18 May) that 146 people have been suspected to be involved in scams which mostly are comprising of love scams, online purchase scams, and loan scams. These scam cases have cost victims more than S$1.15 million.
Of those 146 suspects, 97 are male suspects and 49 are female suspects – aged between 16 to 87 – who are currently assisting the police in the investigations.
They are suspected to be involved in 375 scam cases.
According to the police, the reports came after a two-week enforcement operation between 1 May and 15 May.
Previously on 4 May, the police in a statement revealed that victims had lost at least S$41.3 million to scammers in the first three months of this year – an increase of 27.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.
COVID-19 related scams were reported being the most common scams in the first quarter of the year as it was accounted for nearly a quarter of e-commerce scams.
Those who are found guilty of cheating can face up to 10 years of jail and a fine. While those who are convicted of money laundering can face up to 10 years of jail, a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.
Phishing scams increased amid Singapore’s circuit breaker
Earlier on 16 May, the police reported a spike in phishing scam cases amid the COVID-19 circuit breaker period in Singapore, with 151 phishing scams reported from 7 April to 7 May.
According to the police, the number of phishing scams increased by 129 cases to 137 cases in the first four months of this year.
“Members of the public who have fallen victim to such phishing scams would receive e-mails or text messages purportedly sent from a company they know or trust such as banks, government agencies, trade unions like NTUC, or companies such as SingPost, StarHub and Netflix,” it stated.
These emails and messages include fake offers or claims to trick recipients into clicking on a link. Some of these fake offers or claims include special deals, Government payouts during the COVID-19 period, or outstanding payments for a parcel.
Victims will be redirected to fraudulent websites after clicking the link, where they will be required to provide their credit or debit card details and a One-Time Password (OTP).
Following that, the police advised members of the public to follow these crime prevention measures:
- Do not click on links provided in unsolicited emails and text messages.
- Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official websites or sources.
- Never disclose personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone.
- Report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately.
Individuals who wish to provide any information related to phishing scams can call the police hotline at 1800 255 0000 or the anti-scam helpline at 1800 722 6688.
Individuals can also submit their information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.