The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), together with the Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB) and the Cyber Security Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB) of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), conducted a joint investigation into a transnational online credit card fraud syndicate believed to be operating from Hong Kong. The syndicate had allegedly used credit card details, which were stolen via phishing emails from cardholders in Singapore, to make a series of fraudulent online purchases of electronic products in Hong Kong.
Five core members of the syndicate comprising two foreign men and three Hong Kong women, aged between 26 and 37, were arrested by HKPF officers on 6 July 2020 for their suspected involvement in several cases of online credit card fraud cases in Hong Kong. Investigations revealed that the syndicate had used credit card details stolen from at least 21 Singaporean victims, who had received emails purportedly from a technology and media services provider to update their payment details. These victims were then re-directed to a URL impersonating the services provider’s website where they were deceived into entering their credit card details and one-time passwords. Most of the victims only realised that they had been scammed when they discovered unauthorised transactions in their credit/debit card statements.
The five suspects are believed to be responsible for at least 21 counts of fraudulent online credit card purchases of electronic products and other items in Hong Kong amounting to more than HK$270,000 (equivalent to SGD48,000), using stolen credit card details from victims in Singapore. Further investigations revealed that the suspects have been involved in such fraudulent online credit card purchases using stolen credit card details from Singapore since April 2020. In addition, the syndicate is also believed to be involved in other fraudulent online transactions amounting to more than HK$1,300,000 using stolen credit card information from victims in the United States and European countries such as Italy and Portugal. The case is now under investigation by the CCB of the HKPF.
Director of CAD, Mr David Chew said, “The transnational crime syndicate had targeted unsuspecting victims in many jurisdictions, including Singapore. They had phished for the victims’ banking details through sophisticated sham operations and had used the stolen credit card details to defraud online merchants in Hong Kong. A transnational response is needed to effectively counter this threat. SPF will continue to collaborate closely with our foreign counterparts to detect and deter such transnational syndicates who attempt to use the anonymity of the Internet to commit serious crimes across territorial boundaries. I would like to thank CCB and CSTCB, HKPF for their strong support in the fight against syndicated credit card fraud.”
The police would like to advise members of the public to follow these crime prevention measures:
- Do not click on URL links in unsolicited emails and text messages;
- Always verify the authenticity of the information via the official website or sources;
- Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone; and
- Report any fraudulent credit/debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately.
If you wish to provide any information relating to such phishing scams, please call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If you require urgent police assistance, please dial ‘999’.
You may also call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg for information on scams. Join the ‘Let’s fight scams’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next scam victim.
Case exhibits seized by the Hong Kong Police Force
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
28 July 2020 @ 11:00 AM