The Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) of the Singapore Police Force in collaboration with six banks, namely CIMB, DBS, HSBC, OCBC, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB, conducted a four-day joint operation from 14 to 17 November 2022.
During the operation, officers and our partners prevented losses of more than $5.1 million from more than 1,100 victims.
Interventions in Investment and Job Scams
For investment scams, victims are often contacted via social media platforms and introduced to investment opportunities by scammers claiming to be financial professionals. Once lured, the victims would be introduced to investment experts for sure-win investment recommendations. Victims would be enticed by the promise of easy earnings and transfer their money to bank accounts. In many instances, victims would earn a small profit from the ‘investment’ at the initial stage, leading them to believe the scheme is legitimate and lucrative. Thereafter, victims would be asked to pay administrative fees, legal fees or taxes in order to receive their profits. After victims have deposited larger sums of monies, the scammers would become uncontactable.
For job scams, victims typically respond to job advertisements for quick cash on social media platforms and chat applications. They would then be told to order items from online platforms or provide online ratings for companies, purportedly to boost sales figures or improve the reviews of these businesses. Victims would pay for the items or tasks assigned to them by fund transfers to bank accounts and would initially be reimbursed the full amount together with an attractive commission. When the scheme progresses to a point where victims have transferred large sums of money, the scammers would become uncontactable, leaving victims empty-handed.
During the operation, officers from the ASC and the co-located staff from six banks conducted live interventions by analysing the fund flows of more than 90 bank accounts, which were surfaced in investment and job scam reports. The ASC and the seven Police Land Divisions and the six banks worked together to engage unsuspecting victims who had been transferring monies into these scam-tainted bank accounts.
During the four-day operation, more than 1,100 unsuspecting victims were alerted that they could have fallen prey to scams and were advised to stop any further monetary transfers. Many of these victims only realized that they have been deceived after they were engaged and convinced by the Police. Scam proceeds amounting to more than $1.5 million were seized and Police further prevented these scam victims from financial losses amounting to more than $5.1 million.
Suicide Attempt foiled
During one of the phone engagements, a job scam victim became distressed when he realised that he was cheated of more than $5,000, as he had borrowed the money from his friends to fund his ‘job’. Sensing that something was amiss, police officers proceeded to the victim’s residence to check on him and managed to dissuade him from self-harm.
Members of the public are advised to remain vigilant and adopt the following crime prevention measures:
- Be wary when receiving unsolicited offers of investment or job opportunities via social media platforms or chat applications;
- Understand that investments with high returns will come with high risks,
- Always check with a licensed financial advisor before making any investment;
- Do not be enticed by ‘jobs’ that promise the convenience of working from home and unusually high salary for relatively easy responsibilities. No legitimate business will require employees to utilise their own bank accounts to receive monies on the business’ behalf.
To avoid becoming involved in money laundering activities, members of the public should always reject requests to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer money for others.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.