Loan scam: Victims told to transfer portion of loan amount but never receive loan

SINGAPORE - The police said on Wednesday that over the past few months, they have received a number of reports from the public who faced similar experiences. In most of the cases, the victims received an SMS or pamphlet asking them if they want to take a loan. When they call the listed mobile number, they are asked to transfer a percentage of the loan amount they want. But after the victims transfer the deposit, they do not receive the loan.

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Here is the full statement from the Singapore Police Force:

SINGAPORE - Police have arrested three men and one woman aged between 17 and 41 Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property in relation to an ongoing loan scam.

Over the past few months, Police have received a number of reports from members of public who have fallen prey to this loan scam. These victims were deceived into making deposits in the hope of obtaining a loan. In most of the cases, they would receive an SMS or pamphlet asking them if they are interested in taking up a loan.

A mobile phone number would then be provided in the SMS for the victims to call to obtain the loan. When the victims called the number, they would be told by the culprit to transfer a percentage of the loan amount into a particular bank account as deposit, before the full amount could be disbursed to them. After the victims transferred the deposit, the money would be withdrawn or transferred out of the bank account, leaving the victims waiting in vain for a loan that would never come.

Through extensive follow-up investigations, officers from Clementi Police Division managed to establish the identities of the four suspects and arrested them in the vicinity of Toa Payoh and Clementi Avenue 5 respectively on October 22, 2013 between 1.10 pm and 5.30 pm.

Investigations against the four suspects for allowing their bank accounts to be used to facilitate the scam are ongoing. The offence of Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property under Section 411 of the Penal Code Chapter 224, carries a maximum jail term of up to 5 years imprisonment, or fine, or both.

Commander of Clementi Police Division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police (DAC) Melvin Yong, commended his officers for their good investigative work which resulted in the arrest of the suspects.

Members of public are advised to be wary of such scams and adopt the following crime prevention measures:

i. Ignore notifications of offers promising loans via SMS;

ii. Do not make deposits or advanced payments into a bank account unknown to you, in the hope of getting a loan or prize money; and

iii. Banks and licensed credit facilities would not require you to make any advanced payment in order to extend a loan.

It is also an offence to allow the use of a bank account for the purpose of facilitating a crime.

Members of public who receive such offers may wish to pass on the information, to the Police at a Neighbourhood Police Centre or call the Police hotline at 1800 - 255 0000 or '999' for urgent Police assistance.