SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force carried out an anti-scam operation over the course of two weeks last month, resulting in a whopping total of 411 people currently under investigation for scam or money mule activities.

In December, operations from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven Police Land Divisions ended with 292 men and 119 women between the ages of 16 and 75 said to have been involved in over 1,500 money mule or scam cases, The Straits Times reported on Jan 2 (Tuesday).

The losses from these fraudulent dealings are more than S$13 million, with individuals falling victim to scams concerning employment, relationships (love scams), investments, sales transactions, phishing, and Government official impersonation.

ST added that over S$334.5 million was lost by scam victims in 22,339 reported cases in just the first six months of last year. Among the victims, 55 per cent lost as much as S$2,000.

Police are investigating the 411 individuals for cheating, money laundering, or providing payment services without a licence.

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If they are found guilty of the offences above, they could face as many as ten years in jail, be made to pay a fine, or both. However, for providing payment services without a licence, a person found guilty may be slapped with a fine of as much as S$125,000, be sent to jail for three years, or both.

The police have warned the public not to allow other people to use their bank accounts or mobile phone numbers to avoid becoming an accomplices to these crimes.

The police have also asked the public to add the ScamShield App and security features. No one should ever use personal or banking credentials, including Time Passwords (OTPs), to anyone.

Scams should also be reported immediately to the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or via online submission at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Last week, it was reported that one family lost over S$150,000 after malware was installed on their device when they tried to buy organic eggs. The money was taken from four separate bank accounts and a credit card.

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Moreover, the father of the family, identified in a Dec 27 CNA report only as “Mr Singh”, says he did not receive any notifications, alerts, or requests for one-time-passwords (OTP) from the banks where he has accounts. He is now also asking the banks to take some responsibility for the losses he and his family have incurred. /TISG

Read also: Malware scam: Family loses S$150K for wanting to buy eggs on Facebook