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Singapore

39 arrested over job, phishing scams involving more than S$20 million

39 arrested over job, phishing scams involving more than S$20 million

File photo of a person entering their credit card details. (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: A total of 39 people were arrested over their suspected roles in job and phishing scams involving more than S$20 million, said the police on Sunday (Nov 28).

The 35 men and four women, aged between 16 and 65, were nabbed during an islandwide anti-scam enforcement operation between Nov 22 and 26.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects had allegedly sold their bank accounts or handed over their Singpass credentials to criminal syndicates.

The individuals involved were promised as much as S$5,000 for each bank account sold or S$400 for each set of Singpass credentials sold. However, most of them did not receive the promised fees.

“Some were also found to have allegedly rented out their bank accounts to scammers or assisted them in carrying out bank transfers and withdrawals,” said the police, adding that investigations are ongoing.

Victims of the job scams were duped after chancing upon advertisements offering quick cash on social media platforms and chat applications.

The job would require them to order items from online platforms to improve sales volume. They would then be made to pay for the items via funds transfer to various bank accounts.

Victims would initially receive a payment on top of a well-paid commission, said the police. However, when the scam progressed to a point where victims had spent large sums on their orders, their job contact would become uncontactable.

Those targeted by the phishing scams received text messages informing them of their eligibility to receive free Singapore Bicentennial commemorative notes.

The text message would then direct the victims to allegedly spoofed URL links.

Upon clicking on the link, victims would be redirected to fraudulent websites which resemble the homepage of a purported bank’s Internet banking website and they would then be tricked into providing their Internet banking credentials.

“Victims would only realise they had been scammed when they discovered unauthorised transfers of monies out of their bank accounts,” said the police.

Those found guilty of cheating face up to three years’ jail and a fine while those convicted of money laundering face an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, a maximum fine of S$500,000, or both.

Those who facilitate unauthorised access to computer material face up to two years in jail, a fine, or both.

For carrying on an unlicensed business of providing payment, those found guilty may be jailed for up to three years, fined up S$125,000, or both.

The police cautioned job seekers to be wary of job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and an “unreasonably high salary” for relatively easy job responsibilities.

“Legitimate businesses will not require job seekers to utilise their bank accounts to receive monies on behalf of the businesses. These acts are common ruses used by scammers to lure individuals into carrying out illicit payment transfers on their behalf,” they said.

Members of the public were also reminded to not to click on URL links provided in unsolicited emails and text messages.

“Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources, and never disclose personal or Internet banking details and one-time password to anyone.”

Source: CNA/zl(gr)

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