Singapore and Malaysia police bust Johor and Kuala Lumpur job scam syndicates in joint operation
SINGAPORE: Two job scam syndicates based in Johor and Kuala Lumpur were busted in a joint operation by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP), said SPF in a news release on Tuesday (Oct 26).
On Oct 22, officers from Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) raided an apartment in Johor and another in Kuala Lumpur, and arrested 10 Malaysians aged between 21 and 32.
The scam syndicate is believed to be responsible for targeting more than 390 victims of job scams reported in Singapore, involving S$5 million.
"Preliminary investigations revealed that the group had targeted Singaporean and Malaysian victims and laundered their criminal proceeds in Malaysia," said SPF.
At the same time, officers from the Singapore police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the seven land divisions also arrested 14 people aged between 17 and 44, for their suspected involvement in these scams.
"Preliminary investigations revealed that they had allegedly facilitated the syndicate’s crimes by carrying out bank transfers, funds withdrawals, or relinquishing their bank accounts to the scam syndicates for monetary gains," said the police.
INCREASE IN REPORTS FROM LOCAL JOB SCAM VICTIMS
Since May 2021, SPF has seen an increase in reports from local victims of job scams.
In such cases, the syndicate would post job advertisements offering quick money on different social media platforms or chat applications.
The job would require victims, who were mostly job seekers, to help improve the sales of online platforms, by ordering goods or completing tasks such as liking TikTok or YouTube videos.
The victims would be told that their accounts could be upgraded to get higher commissions once the initial tasks were completed. They would later be told to pay for the goods by transferring funds to different bank accounts.
In return, the victims would be promised reimbursements of the sums that they had paid, as well as between 5 per cent and 15 per cent of the commissions.
The scammers would purportedly first reimburse the victims and pay them the agreed commissions to convince them the job was legitimate.
But they would then induce the victims to deposit "increasingly larger sums of money" to earn more commission, as well as to complete tasks of higher monetary value.
"At this point, the scammer would promise commissions only after a certain number of tasks had been completed.
"Consequently, payments were allegedly delayed or withheld, and the victims would only realise that they had fallen prey to a scam when they did not receive the promised reimbursements and commissions," said the police.
Director of CAD David Chew said job scams continue to be a "serious crime concern that targets job seekers who can ill-afford such losses".
"The Singapore Police Force will continue to collaborate closely with our Malaysian counterparts to detect and deter these transnational syndicates who use the anonymity of the internet to commit crimes," said Mr Chew.
He also thanked his Malaysian counterparts for their strong support and commitment in tackling transnational crime syndicates that target Singaporean and Malaysian citizens.
"We will also take firm action against the money mules in Singapore, who sell their bank accounts to these job syndicates or actively help them to launder their proceeds of crime," he said.
Mr Chew also reminded the public to not fall prey to scammers operating on social media offering jobs that seem "too good to be true".
SPF cautioned job seekers to be wary of job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home or a high salary for relatively simple job responsibilities.
"Legitimate businesses will not require job seekers to use their own bank accounts to receive money on behalf of the businesses, or to make upfront payments to secure the job offers and earn commissions," said SPF.
Members of the public were also reminded to always reject requests to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer money for others, so as to avoid being involved in money laundering activities.