Painful love bytes

Painful love bytes

Internet love scams and cyber extortion cases increase overall crime in Singapore, which went up by 7.4 per cent to 32,196 cases last year, according to police annual statistics.

INTERNET LOVE SCAM, +143.2 per cent

Victims are mainly women between 35 and 60 years old.

They enter into relationships with men they get to know online. These men, who mostly claim to be from the UK, would ask the women to transfer money to them.

The highest amount a woman has been cheated of is $883,109.

2013: 81 cases Total: $5.8 million

2014: 197 cases Total: $8.8 million

CYBER EXTORTION, +138 per cent

Victims are mostly men between 20 and 39 years old. It usually involves female suspects who threaten to post compromising pictures of the men after a cyber-sex session, where the men had been coaxed into undressing and performing sex acts on a web camera.

2013: 108 cases Total: $56,000

2014: 257 cases Total: $145,000

KIDNAP HOAX PHONE SCAM, +207.7 per cent

Scammers would call victims, tell them that their child had been kidnapped and demand a "ransom".

2013: 13 cases Total: $81,400

2014: 40 cases Total: $113,700

GIFT CARD SCAMS, NEW

An emerging trend last year saw scammers hack into phone messaging applications and pose as the victims' friends, asking them to buy gift cards and promising to pay them back later.

They would ask the victims to take a picture of the card's activation code and send it to them.

2014: 149 cases Total: $138,700

MULTIPLE ONLINE PAYMENT SCAM, +236 per cent

Culprits would pose as online sellers of some products priced much lower than the market rate.

After the victims made payment, their goods would not arrive and the culprits would ask for more money for "administrative charges".

2013: 269 cases Total: $240,6000

2014: 904 cases Total: $735,500

PHONY PAYPAL E-MAIL SCAM, +1,256 per cent

Victims were online sellers who received fake e-mails from PayPal stating that payment had been made.

They would send out goods to the "buyer", but the money never came through.

2013: 9 cases Total: $10,000

2014: 122 cases Total: $116,800

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