Duped by 'lover' to be money mule

Duped by 'lover' to be money mule

He can never return to Singapore, a country he had been working in for six years.

Former restaurant manager Peter (not his real name), 31, a Filipino, was arrested for being a money mule after he allowed a criminal to use his bank account.

He was jailed for six months and released on Nov 5 this year.

Speaking from the Philippines, he told The New Paper: "At least it's all over. They only thing was that they restricted me from entering Singapore forever."

He is one of the 17 money mules convicted from January last year until this September.

In a press conference on Friday, the police said that the number of cases involving them have gone up from 93 cases for the whole of last year to 133 in the first nine months of this year.

They also said that the criminals, who are all overseas, would contact residents in Singapore to act as money mules via the Internet.

The police are now working together with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and the National Crime Prevention Council to address the problem.

For one, pamphlets are given to bank customers when they open accounts, reminding them to be wary of requests from unknown parties to receive and transfer money. Banks are also advised to file reports when they spot suspicious transactions in customers' accounts.

Deputy director of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) Ian Wong said on Friday that the criminals would first hack into their victims' e-mail accounts to look into their banking matters.

They would then pose as their victims and instruct their banks to send money to bank accounts in Singapore. These accounts belong to the money mules.

Mr Wong said these criminals picked Singapore because the Internet usage is high here. The police also said that very few money mules get to meet the criminals in person.

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