In an island-wide anti-scam enforcement operation conducted on 18 and 19 May 2022, the Anti-Scam Command of the Singapore Police Force investigated three men and five women, aged between 20 and 47, for their suspected involvement in recent rental scams involving scammers posting fake property listings on various websites and platforms. They were also investigated for allegedly deceiving victims to transfer refundable deposits to bank accounts provided by the scammers to secure viewing appointments.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the eight persons purportedly received illicit proceeds from the rental scams in their bank accounts. They had come across job or loan advertisements, phishing links, or gambling websites, and had allegedly relinquished bank accounts or disclosed their personal details for various purposes, such as for easy money or obtaining loans.
For allegedly relinquishing their bank accounts, the offence under Section 3(1) read with Section 12 of the Computer Misuse Act carries a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.
To avoid becoming involved in money laundering activities, members of the public should always reject requests to allow their bank accounts to be used to receive and transfer money for others.
The Police would also like to remind members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures when securing appointments to view properties:
- Beware of unknown numbers with the “+65” prefix, especially if you are using WhatsApp.
- Verify the legitimacy of a listing by ensuring that the contact numbers match the ones on the Council for Estate Agencies’ (CEA) website, where details on agencies are listed.
- Property agents are not authorised to handle cash transactions. Therefore, no payments should be made to secure house viewings.
- Do not transfer money to unknown persons.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
* In recent rental scams cases, scammers would list fake property listings on websites, contact victims through WhatsApp chats and pretend to be property agents. Victims, who were interested to view the property as advertised, would be asked to make refundable deposits to secure an appointment for viewing of the property.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
21 May 2022 @ 11:40 AM