A 23-year-old Malaysian man has been arrested for his suspected involvement in in a police impersonation scam involving $270,000, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
According to an SPF statement on Saturday (21 October), a 39-year-old woman reported to the police on 14 July that she had received a call three days earlier from an unknown person claiming to be a police officer.
The woman was told over the phone call that she was under investigation for money laundering offences. The call was subsequently transferred to an unknown person who claimed to be a police officer from a foreign country.
The victim was then told to provide her mobile number, bank account number and credit card details. Soon after, she was shown a website link which listed her as a suspect in a money laundering case, causing further fear in her.
On 12 July and 13 July, the woman met up with a few unknown men and handed them $270,000 in cash on two separate occasions near Tiong Bahru Market and Kramat Lane. The men wanted to “verify the authenticity of her cash so as to absolve her from alleged involvement in money laundering activities”, said SPF.
The suspect was arrested on Thursday (19 October) by the Royal Malaysia Police. He was subsequently extradited back to Singapore on Friday (20 October) and will be charged with cheating in court on Saturday.
The man is the fourth suspect arrested in connection with the case. Three other suspects had been nabbed on 20 July 2017 and 25 August 2017, with one of them charged in court on 22 July 2017. If convicted of cheating, the man faces up to 10 years’ jail, or a fine, or both.
If members of the public receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties, the police advise the following:
- Ignore the calls. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check on the validity of the request.
- Ignore instructions to remit or transfer money. Government agencies will not inform members of the public to make a payment through a telephone call, especially to a third-party bank account.
- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details
- Call a trusted friend or relative, or inform the police if you are in doubt.
The police also said that members of the public should take the following precautions to avoid being recruited as money mules:
- Do not give personal particulars or bank account details to strangers.
- Decline any request by acquaintance for money transfers
- Report to the police and the bank immediately if you have received unknown funds in your account.
- If you are approached by anyone who claimed to be a police officer, ask for the warrant card. If in doubt, dial 999 for urgent police assistance
To seek scam-related advice, members of the public may call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722- 6688 or go to www.scamalert.sg