20 men fell for online sex scams. Then they were fined for flouting circuit breaker measures

Illustration of how a conversation with a potential credit-for-sex scammer would look like.
PHOTO: Singapore Police Force

A total of 20 men have been fined for flouting safe distancing rules after they fell prey to credit-for-sex scams — a double whammy for their wallets. 

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) received multiple reports of credit-for-sex scams between April 18 and April 29, of which there were at least 20 male victims. The age of the victims ranged from 18 to 52. 

According to SPF, the victims left their residences for non-essential activities such as procuring sexual services by purchasing gift cards or using AXS machines during the circuit breaker period. 

Most cases involved the victims falling for the scammers through apps such as WeChat, Tinder and MiChat as well as various websites including Locanto and Skokka.

The scammers enticed the victims with sexual services in exchange for AliPay credits (which can be bought via AXS machines) and iTunes or Google Play gift card redemption codes before becoming uncontactable once the transactions were made. 

In addition to a total loss of more than $50,000 altogether, the victims were also issued a $300 composition fine each for flouting safe distancing regulations under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.

Members of the public are advised to be wary of friend requests or online listings offering escort, massage or sexual services and not give out personal details, including credit card information.

Members of the public are also strongly advised to stay at home, take the heightened safety measures seriously, and hold back from conducting inessential affairs during the circuit breaker. 

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jayjaylin@asiaone.com