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Singapore

71 arrested for suspected job scam offences; 29 others to be charged for money mule activities

71 arrested for suspected job scam offences; 29 others to be charged for money mule activities

Police arrested 71 people in an islandwide anti-scam operation that ended on Sep 23, 2021. (Image: Singapore Police Force)

SINGAPORE: A total of 71 people suspected of being involved in job scams were arrested during a four-day enforcement operation that ended on Thursday (Sep 23).

The 59 men and 12 women are aged between 16 and 62, and the islandwide operations involved officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions.

Investigations against 62 of the suspects are ongoing.

They had allegedly sold their bank accounts and SingPass credentials to criminal syndicates to create new bank accounts, the police said in a news release on Thursday. 

In some cases, the suspects would get as much as S$1,500 for each bank account sold.

“Some are also believed to have rented out their bank accounts to scammers or assisted them by carrying out bank transfers and withdrawals,” said the police.

The police added that victims of job scams typically respond to job advertisements for quick-cash on social media platforms and chat applications.

Scammers would then request for victims to order items from online platforms in order to improve sales on these platforms, progressing from low-cost items to more expensive items.

“Victims are made to pay for the items by fund transfers to various bank accounts,” police said, adding that these victims initially received their payment back in full, with a good commission.

“When the scheme progresses to the point where victims have spent large sums on their orders, their job contact becomes unreachable and the victims would not receive any reimbursement for their expensive purchases.”

The police cautioned job seekers to “be wary of job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and being paid a high salary for relatively simple job responsibilities”.

“Legitimate businesses will not require job seekers to utilise their own bank accounts to receive money on the businesses’ behalf,” they said.

The police added that these acts are common ruses used by scammers to lure individuals into carrying out illicit payment transfers on their behalf.

29 PEOPLE TO BE CHARGED FOR MONEY MULE ACTIVITIES

Separately, the police said 22 men and seven women will be charged in court on Friday for various offences connected to money mule activities.

These offences included cheating, money laundering, facilitating unauthorised access to computer material and carrying on an unlicensed business of providing payment service.

“These 29 individuals are alleged to have provided criminal syndicates with the use of their own bank accounts, and even other persons’ bank accounts in some cases," said the police. 

Some are also believed to have cheated banks into opening accounts so that they can hand over the bank ATM cards and iBanking personal identification numbers (PINs) to criminal syndicates.

The police reminded members of the public to always reject requests to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer money for others.

Those found guilty of cheating face up to three years' jail and a fine. For money laundering, they could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$500,000, or both.

Those found guilty of facilitating unauthorised access to computer material could be jailed up to two years, fined, or both. For carrying on an unlicensed business of providing payment service, individuals can be fined up to S$125,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

Source: CNA/ga

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