EFFORTS TO FIGHT SCAMS AND CYBERCRIMES
The police also gave updates on its efforts to combat scams and cybercrime.
Its Anti-Scam Command, which was set up in March 2022, froze more than 9,000 bank accounts and recovered about S$50.8 million of scam proceeds in the first half of 2023.
Staff from six banks as well as the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) were also deployed to work at the Anti-Scam Command in order to speed up responses to scam cases and flag unusual activities in Singpass accounts.
In the first half of 2023, the Anti-Scam Command worked with these bank staff to identify more than 800 unsuspecting victims, preventing potential losses of more than S$5 million.
During that period, the Anti-Scam Command — along with Scam Strike Teams across the seven police land divisions — conducted 12 islandwide anti-scam enforcement operations. This led to more than 4,700 money mules and scammers being investigated.
New laws that were passed in May to give the police more powers to act more effectively against money mules, as well as those who sell their Singpass details to scammers, will take effect at the end of this year, added SPF.
Separately, more than 3,700 mobile lines and more than 10,300 WhatsApp lines were submitted for termination. These lines were believed to have been used in scams. Additionally, more than 1,500 online monikers and advertisements involved in suspected scams were removed.
From March to May this year, the police carried out two islandwide operations targeting eight mobile phone shops as well as 16 mobile phone shop owners and assistants.
They had allegedly helped scammers to exploit registered prepaid SIM cards as an anonymous channel of communication for illicit activities such as scams and unlicensed moneylending.
More than 110 phone subscribers were also investigated for their suspected involvement in fraudulently registering SIM cards.
WORKING WITH FOREIGN COUNTERPARTS
The police also revealed that nine scam syndicates were taken down in the first half of 2023 as a result of collaboration between SPF and overseas law enforcement agencies.
These comprised four fake friend call scam syndicates, three job scam syndicates, and one syndicate each that perpetrated phishing scams and internet love scams.
More than 42 people based abroad — who were responsible for more than 580 cases in Singapore — were arrested.
They included three Malaysians, aged between 18 and 27, who were extradited to Singapore in March for their suspected involvement in fake friend call scams targeting Singaporeans. They have been charged in court with cheating offences.
Preliminary investigations showed that the men began their scam operations earlier this year, and are believed to be involved in more than 40 reports with total losses of more than S$250,000.
In June, SPF also extradited three Singaporeans from Malaysia for their suspected involvement in laundering scam proceeds linked to more than 50 cases reported in Singapore. The losses amounted to more than S$2.9 million. CNA