SINGAPORE – An Internet love-scam syndicate operating in Malaysia was crippled after a 41-year-old woman in Singapore fell victim to the ruse and lost about $28,000.
Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) coordinated with its counterpart in Malaysia – the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) – to track down the suspects to an apartment in Selangor.
In a statement on Thursday (Sept 16), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said the syndicate may be behind at least eight such scams, seven in Singapore involving $37,000 and one in Malaysia involving RM210,000 ($67,840).
The woman had reported on May 17 this year that she may have fallen victim to a suspected love scam, SPF said.
It happened after she met a man on Facebook in March this year who told her he was running an oil rig project in Ukraine.
He promised to marry her in Singapore once the project was completed.
In May, he asked her for a loan, claiming the machinery in the oil rig had malfunctioned but he was unable to access his bank account to buy new machinery to continue with the project.
She then transferred $12,000 to a Singapore bank account he provided.
The victim told another person she had befriended on Facebook about the incident and was told that she had been scammed.
The person promised to help her get her money back.
SPF said: “The victim was subsequently cheated into transferring another sum of about $16,000 to another two Singapore bank accounts provided by the second subject as a form of payment for the fund recovery services.
“The victim felt suspicious about the entire incident and decided to lodge a police report.”
Investigations led to a crime syndicate based in Malaysia and on Tuesday, Malaysian police raided an apartment in Selangor and arrested a 22-year-old Nigerian man.
They seized multiple laptops and mobile phones as well as Singapore ATM, debit and credit cards.