January 13, 2023
SINGAPORE – A total of 355 people are being investigated for their suspected involvement in scams – as scammers or money mules – which led to victims losing more than $5 million, the police said on Friday.
It added that the suspects, aged between 16 and 78, are believed to be involved in more than 918 scam cases.
The cases were mainly investment scams, job scams, e-commerce scams, Internet love scams and government official impersonation scams.
The suspects were identified after a two-week operation conducted by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and the seven police land divisions between Dec 31, 2022, and Jan 12.
The 228 men and 127 women are being investigated for their suspected involvement in cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence.
Those convicted of cheating could face a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine, while money laundering carries a jail term not exceeding 10 years, a fine not exceeding $500,000, or both.
Meanwhile, those providing payment services without a licence can be fined up to $125,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.
The police said they take a serious stance against any individuals who may be involved in scams.
“To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile lines as you will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes,” said the police.
Last Saturday, The Straits Times reported that the number of scam cases in Singapore is unlikely to decrease in the foreseeable future, due to how lucrative it is for scammers.
In 2021, there were nearly 24,000 reported scam cases, with losses of at least $633.3 million.
The sum lost then was almost 2½ times the $268.4 million stolen by scammers the previous year.
Since 2016, when there were more than 5,300 cases reported, the number of scam cases has increased every year.
In the first half of 2022, more than 14,000 cases were reported, with losses amounting to more than $227 million.