In November 2017, a victim of a China Officials Impersonation Scam lost about S$5.4 million to scammers after she was cheated into believing that she had to surrender all her monies to the authorities to assist in criminal investigations. Police investigations revealed that she delivered her money to different strangers at various locations in Singapore over a one-week period. The suspects left Singapore soon after receiving the money.
On 7 January 2019, with the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Police, one of the suspects, a 39-year-old Malaysian man was arrested in Kuala Lumpur for his involvement in the scam. The suspect was brought back to Singapore on 8 January 2019 and will be charged in court on 9 January 2019 with the offence of dishonestly receiving stolen property.
If convicted, the man faces an imprisonment term of up to 5 years, or with fine, or with both. Over the last year, 3 other Malaysians were arrested for their involvement in the same case with the help of the Royal Malaysia Police. They have already been charged in court for money laundering offences.
Director of Commercial Affairs Department, Mr David Chew, said, The criminal networks behind China Officials Impersonation Scams are transnational and sophisticated. We will work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies, such as the Royal Malaysia Police, to deprive them of a safe place to operate or hide.
The Police advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls to surrender money in order to avoid criminal investigations:
Ignore such calls and the caller's instructions.
No government agency will demand payment through an undocumented medium like a telephone call or other social messaging platforms (WeChat or Facebook); or demand that you surrender cash to unnamed persons or ask you for personal banking information such as your internet banking passwords.
For foreigner residents receiving calls from persons claiming to be Police officers or government officials from your home country, please call your Embassy/High Commission to verify the claims of the caller.
Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals. Do not make any funds transfer at the behest of such callers.
Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively.
To seek scam related advice, you may call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.
Source: Singapore Police Force