SINGAPORE: At least S$295,000 was lost to credit-for-sex scams in March this year, with about 112 reports lodged, the police said on Friday (Apr 17).
In 2019, such scams resulted in a loss of at least S$2.8 million with at least 1,065 reports made, the police added.
The police said that victims typically befriended the scammers or searched for sexual services through online applications such as WeChat, Tinder and Michat, or websites such as Locanto and Skokka.
In some cases, scammers would proactively approach the victims through these online applications or websites to offer sexual services.
The victims were then instructed to either make advance payment via AliPay credits at AXS machines or purchase iTunes or Google Play gift cards, in exchange for the sexual services.
The scammers then became uncontactable after the advance payments were made.
"In most cases, the victims only realised they have been scammed when no one showed up at the meeting point," the police said.
The police advised members of the public to be wary of friend requests or online listings offering escort, massage or sexual services as they may be fraudulent in nature.
Scammers may also employ scare tactics to threaten victims into making more payments. The police said victims should remain calm and should not agree to the threats. Victims should also not give out their personal details.
The police also reminded members of the public to stay home and avoid going out during the “circuit breaker” period.