Thursday, 6 Aug 2020

Man arrested for suspected involvement in sexual service scam

SINGAPORE – A 31-year-old man has been arrested for his suspected involvement in a sexual service scam.

The police said that on June 21, they received a report from a man that he was a victim of a sexual service scam, after he responded to an advertisement offering sexual services posted on online classifieds website Locanto.

After payment was made, the scammer became uncontactable, said the police in a statement on Thursday (July 9).

Officers from Jurong Police Division established the identity of the suspect and arrested him on Wednesday.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the man is believed to be involved in two similar sexual service scams.

The man is expected to be charged in court next Monday with cheating. Those convicted may be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

The case comes even as scams here are on the rise in general, with at least $41.3 million in total lost to scammers between January and March this year.

This was nearly 28 per cent more than the amount lost in the same period a year ago, the police said in May.

The scams most reported to the police between January and March were e-commerce scams, with 1,159 scams reported, up 116 per cent from 536 a year ago. Victims lost $1.3 million in the first three months of the year, 177 per cent more than the $469,000 lost a year ago.

Bank phishing scams and Internet love scams were also highlighted as scams of concern by the police.

There were 374 police reports made on bank phishing scams from January to March, with victims losing $1.6 million. This was up from 30 reports and $69,000 lost a year ago.

As for Internet love scams, there were 175 reports made to the police in the first quarter of the year, with victims losing $6.6 million. In contrast, the number of reports was lower a year ago at 131 but more money was lost at $7.1 million.

In Thursday’s release, the police advised members of the public to be wary of friend requests or online listings offering escort, massage or sexual services, as they may be fraudulent in nature.

They also advised people not to freely give their personal details, such as credit card information, and to remain calm and not accede to requests by scammers who may use scare tactics to threaten them into making more payments.

For scam-related advice, the public can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or go to this website.

Those who wish to provide information on scams may call the police on 1800-255-0000, or go to this website.

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