The OCBC Bank phishing scams that came to light in Dec 2021 cheated 790 victims of $13.7 million in total.
The massive scale of the losses attracted Singaporeans’ attention, and inevitably the authorities.
Prompted to act, the police eventually arrested 13 youths who were suspected of being behind the crimes.
They also seized items that included various mobiles phones and even 2 Rolex watches.
The 13 people arrested comprised 9 men and 4 women, said the police in a statement on Sunday (20 Feb).
The men were aged 19-21, while the women were 19-22 years old.
7 of them – all men – were charged on Friday (18 Feb) with assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
The offence is enshrined under 44(5)(a) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, Chapter 65A.
If convicted, they face a prison term of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $500,000.
The 7 are being remanded for further investigations. The police are also continuing to investigate the other 6 youths.
The police established the identities of the 13 youths via “thorough investigations and extensive probes”, they said.
This came after they closely monitored OCBC phishing scam reports since Dec.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) then carried out an islandwide operation from 16-17 Feb.
It was during this operation that they arrested all 13 suspects.
They also seized several items, including:
2. bank cards
3. SIM cards
4. cash totalling $2,760, and
5. 2 Rolex watches worth $35,600
The police have also warned the public against being an accomplice to crimes.
While most may think that’s unlikely, they reminded that this could happen if you let others use your bank account or mobile phone.
If your account or phone line is linked to a crime due to this, you’ll “be held accountable”, the police added.
Thus, you should always reject such requests.
The police will “spare no effort to track down” people linked to scams. Perpetrators will also be dealt with firmly and in accordance with the law.
Kudos to the police for nabbing those suspected of involvement in the OCBC phishing scams quickly.
While we can always count upon law enforcement to have our back, the public also needs to play their part by staying alert and not falling for scams in the first place.
It’s only when the whole of society works together can we deal pesky scammers a resounding defeat.
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Featured images adapted from Singapore Police Force on Facebook and Google Maps. Photos for illustration purposes only.
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