325 suspects under police investigation for scamming victims of over $14 million

SINGAPORE – More than 300 suspected scammers were rounded up in a two-week police operation last month, with victims estimated to have lost over $14.4 million.

The police said on Friday that 201 men and 124 women – aged between 16 and 86 – are helping with investigations for the alleged offences of cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence.

They are believed to be involved in more than 695 cases of scams, comprising mainly impersonation, e-commerce, phishing, investment, Internet love and business e-mail compromise.

The operation between Aug 19 and Sept 1 was conducted by the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Those found guilty of money laundering can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both, for each charge.

For each count of providing payment services without a licence, an offender can be fined up to $125,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

The police urge the public to reject requests by others to use their bank account or mobile phone lines, to avoid being an accomplice to crimes.

According to mid-year statistics released by the police, $346.5 million was lost to all scams in the first half of this year.

Over $227 million was lost to the top 10 scam types – the most common being job – up from $142.5 million in the same period last year.

A total of 14,349 scam cases were reported in the first half of this year, almost double the 7,746 in the same period last year.