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Thursday, December 8, 2022
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15 Y.O BOY BEING INVESTIGATED FOR IMPERSONATION SCAM

The Singapore Police Force issued a press release about the arrest of a 25-year-old man for his suspected involvement in a case of China Officials Impersonation Scam.

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They added that a 15-year-old boy is also being investigated for his suspected involvement in the case.

Here is what they said

The Police have arrested a 25-year-old man for his suspected involvement in a case of China Officials Impersonation Scam (“COIS”). A 15-year-old youth is also being investigated for his suspected involvement in the case.

On 26 April 2022, the Police received a report that a 21-year-old man went missing. Later, the parents of the victim, who were based in China, received a photograph and a video of the victim and ransom demands from an unknown person in China. Pursuant to the report, officers from Ang Mo Kio Division, Woodlands Division, Airport Police Division, Criminal Investigation Department, Police Intelligence Department and Commercial Affairs Department conducted extensive searches and investigations to locate the 21-year-old man who was eventually found to be safe and sound in the vicinity of Airport Boulevard on 27 April 2022.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the victim had received an unsolicited call from a scammer who claimed to be a police officer from China. The scammer claimed that there was a police warrant against him in China for money laundering offences and later instructed the victim to stop all communications with his family and friends. The scammer also instructed him to take photograph and record a video of himself, with make-up of “bruises” on his face and arms, to assist in the purported investigations. Without the victim’s knowledge, the scammer later sent the photograph and video to the victim’s parents in China and demanded a ransom to be paid for his release.

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Preliminary investigations also revealed that the 25-year-old man and 15-year-old youth are believed to be victims of a COIS. The 25-year-old man had purportedly acted on the scammer’s instructions to hand over a mobile phone with SIM card to the victim for the victim’s communication with the scammer whilst the 15-year-old youth had allegedly purchased and handed over several items such as a mobile phone with a SIM card, dried food, cosmetics, rope, bandage tape, and other items to the victim under the scammer’s instructions. Police investigations are ongoing.

Those found guilty for the offence of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code 1871 face an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and a fine. Those found guilty for the offence of money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act 1992, also face a penalty of an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, a fine not exceeding $500,000, or both.

The Police take a serious view against any person who may be involved in scams, whether knowingly or unwittingly, and they would be dealt with severely in accordance with the law.

The Police would like to highlight that the China Police, INTERPOL and other overseas law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have no jurisdiction to conduct operations in Singapore, arrest anyone or ask members of the public to help with any form of investigations without the approval of the Singapore Government.

The Police would also like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties, especially those with the “+” prefix which originate overseas:

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  • Ignore such calls and the caller’s instructions. No government agency will instruct payment through a telephone call or other social messaging platforms (WeChat or Facebook), or ask you for personal banking information such as your internet banking passwords;
  • For foreigners receiving calls from persons claiming to be from Police in your home country, call your Embassy/High Commission to verify the claims of the caller;
  • Refrain from giving out your personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals;
  • Do not make any fund transfers if the caller is of dubious identity;
  • Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment; and
  • If in doubt, always hang up the call and check with the Singapore Police Force.

If you have any information related to such crime, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255 0000, or dial ‘999’ for urgent Police assistance.

To seek scam-related advice, members of the public may call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg. Do share this advisory with your family and friends to prevent them from being the next scam victim.

Screenshots of messages from the scammer

PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
29 April 2022 @ 11:10 AM

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