71 people arrested for suspected employment fraud offenses; 29 others to pay for money mule activities

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SINGAPORE: A total of 71 people suspected of being involved in employment scams were arrested during a four-day execution operation that ended on Thursday (September 23).

The 59 men and 12 women range from 16 to 62 years old, and the island-wide operations involved officers from the Department of Commercial Affairs and seven police ground divisions.

Investigations against 62 of the suspects are ongoing.

They reportedly sold their bank accounts and SingPass credentials to criminal groups to create new bank accounts, police said in a press release Thursday.

In some cases, suspects would get up to S $ 1,500 for every bank account sold.

“Some have also reportedly rented their bank accounts to crooks or assisted them by making bank transfers and withdrawals,” police said.

Police added that victims of job scams typically respond to job postings for quick cash on social media platforms and chat apps.

The crooks would then ask the victims to order items from online platforms in order to improve sales on those platforms, switching from low-priced items to more expensive items.

“The victims are forced to pay for the items by money transfers to various bank accounts,” police said, adding that these victims initially received their payment in full, with a good commission.

“When the program progresses to the point where victims have spent large sums on their orders, their professional contact becomes inaccessible and victims receive no reimbursement for their expensive purchases. “

Police have warned job seekers to “beware of job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and being paid high wages for relatively straightforward job responsibilities.”

“Legitimate businesses will not require job seekers to use their own bank accounts to receive money on behalf of the business,” they said.

Police added that these acts are common ruses used by crooks to trick individuals into making illicit payment transfers on their behalf.

29 PEOPLE TO BE CHARGED FOR MONEY MULE ACTIVITIES

Separately, police said 22 men and seven women will be charged in court on Friday for various offenses related to money mule activities.

These offenses included cheating, money laundering, facilitating unauthorized access to computer equipment and engaging in unauthorized activity of providing payment services.

“These 29 individuals allegedly provided criminal groups with the use of their own bank accounts, and even other people’s bank accounts in some cases,” police said.

Some are also believed to have tricked banks into opening accounts so that they can hand over ATM bank cards and iBanking personal identification numbers (PINs) to criminal syndicates.

Police reminded members of the public to always reject requests to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer money for others.

Those found guilty of cheating face three years in prison and a fine. For money laundering, they could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S $ 500,000, or both.

Those found guilty of facilitating unauthorized access to computer hardware could face a prison term of up to two years, a fine, or both. For operating an unlicensed payment service provider business, individuals can be fined up to S $ 125,000, jail time up to three years, or both.

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