SINGAPORE – You receive a phone call from the “Chinese authorities”. The caller claims that you are part of a criminal probe in China and needs you to transfer money or pass cash to a “police officer” for investigation.
A phone call like this may seem far-fetched, but in June 2018, police received at least six reports from victims who have fallen prey to such impersonation scams, losing a total of $208,600.
These funds were delivered to a 25-year-old Malaysian man, who fled Singapore after the scams. On Friday (July 12), the man was arrested in Kuala Lumpur with the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Police for his suspected involvement and taken back to Singapore the next day.
The man is expected to be charged in court for dishonestly receiving stolen property. If convicted, he faces an imprisonment term of up to five years, or a fine, or both.
Mr David Chew, director of the Commercial Affairs Department, said: “This arrest underscores the resolve of the Singapore Police Force and our foreign counterparts to track down and bring to justice transnational criminals who try to evade responsibility for their crimes by leaving Singapore. I would like to thank the Royal Malaysia Police for their strong support and assistance in arresting the suspect.”
Members of the public are advised to ignore such calls and instructions as no government agency will demand payment or personal banking information through an undocumented medium such as a phone call or via any other social media platform.
If unsure, especially for foreign residents, the public should call their respective embassy/high commission to verify the claims.
Should scam-related advice be required, the public can dial the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg