In a joint operation, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) took down a transnational job scam syndicate based in Johor, Malaysia.
The scam syndicate is believed to be responsible for more than 188 cases of job scams reported in Singapore, amounting to S$1.35 million scammed from the victims.
According to the press release by the SPF, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the SPF shared information with the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the RMP, while the latter carried out the raids and arrests in Johor.
How the scam was carried out
SPF stated that they noticed a surge in reports from local victims of job scams since May this year.
The scammers would post job advertisements offering quick cash on different social media platforms or chat applications.
The job would require the victims, many who are job seekers, to assist in boosting the sales of online platforms by ordering goods.
Subsequently, the scammers would instruct victims to pay for the goods by transferring funds to different bank accounts. In return, the victims were promised reimbursements of the sums they paid and between 5% and 12% of the commissions.
In the beginning, the scammers would reimburse the victims and pay them the agreed commissions, in order to convince them that it was a legitimate job.
Then, the scammers would entice the victims into depositing more money so as to earn more commission. At this point, the scammer would also promise commissions only after a required number of tasks had been completed.
Thereafter, the scammers would allegedly say that the payments were delayed or withheld, and the victims would subsequently realise that they have been scammed after they did not receive the reimbursement and commission as promised.
The joint operation
According to the press release, the SPF and the RMP collaborated and shared information extensively which led up to the arrest of the scammers.
On Aug. 26, officers from the CCID raided an apartment in Johor and arrested three Malaysian men aged between 21 and 27 years old.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the group targeted Singaporean and Malaysian victims and laundered their ill-gotten gains in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, officers from CAD also arrested six men and a woman, aged between 16 and 23, for their suspected involvement in these job scams.
They had allegedly facilitated the scam syndicate’s crimes by carrying out bank transfers, funds withdrawals, and allowing the syndicate to use their bank accounts for monetary gains.
David Chew, director at CAD thanked their Malaysian counterparts "for their strong support and commitment in tackling transnational crime syndicates" that target Singaporeans.
SPF advice to the public on crime prevention
The SPF further advised the public to observe crime prevention measures such as not accepting "dubious job offers that offer lucrative returns for minimal effort".
Additionally, the public should always verify the authenticity of the job with the official e-commerce platforms and refrain from accessing suspicious URLs and applications from unknown sources, the SPF said.
When in doubt, members of the public can also call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit the scam alert website.
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