SINGAPORE: The police Anti-Scam Centre and six banks intervened in more than 150 cases of investment scams and fake gambling platform scams during a three-day joint enforcement operation conducted between Jul 5 and Jul 7, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Saturday (Jul 10).
The banks involved in the islandwide operation were DBS, UOB, OCBC, HSBC, Citibank and Standard Chartered.
“During the three-day enforcement operation, officers from the Anti-Scam Centre, the seven police land divisions and the six banks conducted live intervention by analysing the fund flow of bank accounts, which were surfaced in scam reports,” SPF said in a news release.
“Officers from the Anti-Scam Centre, and the police land divisions’ Community Policing Units then worked together to engage the unsuspecting victims who had been transferring monies to scam-tainted bank accounts."
A total of 81 people aged between 16 and 77 are assisting with investigations for their suspected involvement in more than 360 investment scam and fake gambling platform scam cases.
“The suspects purportedly facilitated the syndicates’ operations by opening bank accounts, transferring monies for the syndicate, or had relinquished control of their own bank accounts to the syndicates,” SPF said.
The victims of the scams were often cultivated through online dating platforms.
In the investment scams, the scammers claimed to be financial professionals and introduced victims to investment websites or mobile applications, police said.
Victims were then enticed to invest and asked to transfer money to banks mainly in Hong Kong and China. They were also asked to pay administrative fees, security fees or taxes in order to obtain profits.
“In many instances, victims will earn a profit from the investment at the initial stage, leading them to believe that the investment is legitimate and lucrative,” the police said.
“Once larger amounts of monies are deposited into the designated accounts, the scammers will become uncontactable.”
FAKE GAMBLING PLATFORM SCAMS
Victims in the fake gambling platform scams were introduced to online betting applications or websites, and in some cases were convinced by the scammers that these platforms had “loopholes” which would enable them to make profits easily.
“To place the bets, victims are required to open a betting account with the said platform. They would then be given a bank account number to deposit their money in exchange for betting credits and to cash out their winnings,” SPF said.
“However, the victims will subsequently be informed that their betting accounts had been frozen and that they will need to deposit more money in order to cash out their winnings. The scammers would become uncontactable thereafter, and the websites would be inaccessible after the additional monies are transferred.”
Victims of the fake gambling platform scams who opened betting accounts and placed bets are also liable for offences under the Remote Gambling Act, police added.
Police advised the public to be wary of befriending strangers on social media or dating platforms, to check with licensed financial advisers before making investments and to exercise caution when dealing with unregulated entities.
They also reminded members of the public not to place bets on illegal betting sites and applications, and to report them to the authorities.
“Victims may be lured with the promises of easy winnings. However, such platforms are often programmed and rigged by the scammers.”
Anyone found cheating and dishonestly inducing a delivery of property may face up to 10 years in prison and a fine.
Those convicted of money laundering can be jailed up to 10 years and fined up to S$500,000.
Anyone in Singapore found guilty of gambling using remote communication and using a remote gambling service that is not provided by a person otherwise exempt may be fined of up to S$5,000, jailed up to six months, or both.