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Transnational Internet Love Scam Syndicate Smashed In Regional Efforts

The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force worked with the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) to jointly cripple a transnational Internet love scam syndicate based in Malaysia. 

In early February 2021, a female victim lodged a police report stating that she could have fallen prey to an internet love scam. The victim revealed that her online boyfriend whom she had been together for a year, had purportedly sent her a parcel containing a handbag, shoes and other accessories. She subsequently received a phone call from a purported Malaysian “delivery company”, who allegedly requested for $1000 to be transferred to a bank account as delivery charges. After making the transfer, the deliveryman allegedly claimed that he did not receive the money and asked for further payment in cash. The deliveryman was unable to provide information on his company and address when the victim had probed further. Sensing that something was amiss, she reported the case to the Police.

Pursuant to the report, the Anti-Scam Centre of the Singapore Police Force carried out extensive investigative probes and sense-making. Through close collaboration and joint investigations with the CCID/RMP, a syndicate believed to be behind the cases was identified and established to be based in Malaysia.

On 23 June 2021, officers from the CCID/RMP conducted simultaneous raids at two locations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and arrested six Nigerians men and one Malaysian woman, aged between 20 and 46 years, for their suspected involvement in internet love scams and parcel scams. During the raid, eight laptops, 17 mobile phones, three thumb drives, two ATM cards, two modems, two WIFI routers and two passports were seized as case exhibits.

In Singapore, a 57-year-old woman was arrested while a 34-year-old man was investigated for allegedly assisting in the transfer of the syndicate’s criminal proceeds. This syndicate is believed to be responsible for at least five other cases in Singapore involving $64,000 in losses and eight other cases in Malaysia involving RM3.7 million in losses.

The woman will be charged on 29 June 2021 for money-laundering while investigations against the man are ongoing. Anyone found guilty of acquiring or transferring criminal benefits under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, faces up to 10 years' imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

Director CAD, Mr David Chew, said, “Notwithstanding the global lockdown in response to the pandemic, criminals continue to prey on the unwary. They have ramped up their abuse of the internet to target victims across international boundaries. To keep Singapore safe, the Singapore Police Force collaborates with like-minded international counterparts like the Royal Malaysian Police to deny criminals safe refuge. Law enforcement will find and bring them to justice, wherever they may  hide. I would like to thank Director CCID, Commissioner Dato Mohd Kamarudin Bin Md Din and his officers from the Intelligence and Operations Division of CCID for their strong support and commitment in tackling cross border scams.”

Members of the public are advised to be careful when befriending strangers online. They should also be wary when asked to send money to bank accounts of people whom they do not know. For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams can also call the Police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Case exhibits seized (Photos credit – CCID RMP)

20210627_transnational_internet_love_scam_syndicate_smashed_in_regional_efforts

 


PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
27 June 2021 @ 8:00 PM
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