Police investigating 17 for suspected involvement in online purchase scams

SINGAPORE - Police are investigating 10 men and 7 women aged between 19 and 43 for their suspected involvement in more than 70 reported online purchase scams amounting to a total of more than $134,000.

This comes after a two-day island-wide police operation conducted on Dec 16 and 17.

Online purchase scams typically involve victims responding to online advertisements on the sale of items at attractive prices, according to a statement from the Singapore Police Force.

Victims would communicate with the sellers over mobile messaging platforms or email and be convinced by scammers to make advanced payments to have the items delivered to them.

In the majority of the cases, victims were instructed to make bank transfers to a local bank account.

However, the goods were not delivered as promised even after the victims made the payments.

In some cases, victims were even asked to make further payments for fictitious reasons such as payments for customs duties, delivery charges and taxes.

Investigations against the persons are on-going. The offence of cheating carries a punishment of imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years and a fine. These persons may also be investigated for money laundering offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, which carry a punishment of imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000.