SINGAPORE: The police on Monday (May 6) warned of a scam involving fake China government officials who duped a family into paying ransom to secure their child's release.
Preliminary investigations showed that a 15-year-old student had received an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be a police officer from China. He was told there was a police warrant against him in China for money laundering offences.
To cancel the warrant, the teenager was told to transfer money to a bank account in China. As he did not have the money, the scammer instructed him to get his parents to pay through a staged kidnap.
The teenager complied and checked in to a hotel room along Orchard Road on May 1. He was told not to contact anyone and to take a photograph of himself being tied up, said the police in a news release.
He then sent the photograph to his parents in China and asked for the ransom to be paid. His parents transferred 20,000 yuan (S$4,021) to a Chinese bank account.
Police officers later found the teenager safe and sound in the hotel room.
The police advised members of the public to ignore unsolicited calls, adding that no government agency would ask for payment or personal banking information over the phone or through social messaging platforms.
Foreigners receiving calls from people alleging to be police from their home countries can call their respective embassies or high commissions to verify the claims.
Personal information and bank details should not be given out online or over the phone, the police added.