SINGAPORE – Three suspects have been arrested for their involvement in a series of car rental and sexual service scams, police said in a statement on Monday (Sept 23).

On May 30, a man reported to the police that he was a victim of a sexual service scam. He said that he responded to an online advertisement offering sexual service and paid $200 through bank transfer.

He realised he had been scammed after the person who posted the ad could not be contacted after the payment.

Meanwhile, on Aug 27, police received several reports from victims of car rental scams. The victims said they responded to online advertisements on online portal Carousell to rent a car and paid deposits of between $200 and $400 by bank transfers, but they could not contact the person who place the ad after making the payments.

Police said that officers from Bedok Police Division identified the men, aged between 18 and 23, and arrested them. At least seven victims were involved.

The 18-year-old suspect is believed to be the mastermind behind the scams, and he used the bank accounts of the other two suspects, aged 19 and 23, to receive funds from the victims, police added.

Those convicted of cheating may be jailed up to 10 years, and may be fined.

The number of cases for e-commerce scams rose from 1,013 in the first six months of last year to 1,435 in the same period this year – the highest reported number of cases among all types of scams. The total amount of losses climbed from $870,000 to $1.2 million.

For scam-related advice, the public can call anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg

Those who wish to provide information on scams may call the police on 1800-255-0000, or send the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness