Singapore — The Police announced on Sunday (Feb 20) that 13 people have been arrested over the recent OCBC phishing scam that victimised 790 victims whose losses added up to S$13.7 million.
Seven of the arrested individuals have been charged.
Of the 13, nine are males from the ages of 19 to 21, and four are females aged 19 to 22.
Since December of last year, when the scam began, Police said they’ve been closely monitoring the situation and through “thorough investigations and extensive probes,” were able to identify 13 people involved in the scams, CNA reported.
The 13 were arrested by the Police officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) last Wednesday and Thursday (Feb 16 and 17).
They were able to seize mobile devices, bank cards, SIM cards, cash amounting to S$2,760, as well as two Rolex watches worth a total of S$35,600.
By Friday (Feb 18) seven of the men arrested were charged with assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
If they are convicted they can go to jail for as long as ten years, be made to pay a fine of as much as S$500,000 or both.
Further investigations are being carried out on the seven men, even as police continue to investigate the other six men and women who were arrested.
CNA quotes the Police as saying they “will spare no effort to track down any person who may be involved in scams, and perpetrators will be dealt with firmly and in accordance with the law.”
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The Police also reminded the public to reject requests by others to use their bank account or mobile lines, as they will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes.
“Combatting scams requires a whole of society effort. While police have stepped up our enforcement efforts, members of the public still play a vital role in the fight against scams,” the SPF said.
On Feb 15 (Tuesday) Minister of State (Home Affairs) Desmond Tan who heads the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams told Parliament that some $2 million of the money taken illegally by scammers has been recovered.
He also told the House that 121 local bank accounts had been frozen in connection with the scams.
Mr Tan said that around S$2.2 million of the funds illegally siphoned off had been traced to 89 bank accounts overseas.
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OCBC customers who had been scammed had followed instructions sent by SMS from an account purposely designed to look like they had been sent by the bank.
Mr Tan told Parliament that the police had discovered 107 local and 171 overseas IP addresses that were connected to unauthorised use of the victims’ banking accounts online. The police are now investigating the local addresses. /TISG
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