SINGAPORE – More than 300 suspected scammers were rounded up in a two-week police operation earlier this month. Victims were estimated to have lost close to $6 million.
In a release issued on Saturday (June 25), the police said the 220 men and 107 women – aged between 15 and 78 – are helping investigations.
They are being investigated for the alleged offences of cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence.
The police said: “The suspects are believed to be involved in more than 1,138 cases of scams, comprising mainly bank-related phishing scams, Internet love scams, government and China officials impersonation scams, e-commerce scams, investment scams, job scams and loan scams.”
The operation between June 10 and 23 was conducted by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and the seven police land divisions.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
An offender found guilty of money laundering can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both, for each charge.
For each count of providing payment services without a licence, an offender can be fined up to $125,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.
The police urged members of the public to reject requests by others to use their bank account or mobile phone lines, to avoid being an accomplice to crimes.
They added that they take a serious stance against anyone who may be involved in scams, and that perpetrators will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Last month, the police said since the start of this year, more than $2.7 million has been swindled from at least 587 people in phishing scams, with culprits pretending to be friends.
Earlier this month, The Straits Times reported that 67 victims have lost more than $71,000 to new scam variants in the first half of June.
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) issued three advisories within a week, with each alerting about a different variant.
The variants involve spoofed e-mails with suspicious attachments, fraudulent e-mails and calls from scammers impersonating Iras officers, and WhatsApp calls from fake accounts which have the Iras logo as their profile pictures.
Eight people were charged in court on Friday over their suspected involvement in DBS phishing scams, where more than 60 people lost more than $60,000.