Representational Image arrest
Reuters

Police arrested a thirst Malaysian man for his suspected involvement in an impersonation scam that took place in 2017 and cost a woman almost $5.4 million.

The Singapore Police Force said in a statement on Thursday, January 3 that one day ago in Kuala Lumpur with the help of the Royal Malaysia Police, a 29-year-old suspect was arrested. Even though the man was not identified but the Malaysian authority handed him over to the Singapore police for his suspected involvement in the scam.

The unnamed man is expected to be charged in court on Friday for dishonestly receiving stolen property.

As per Singapore police, in November 2017, a 58-year-old woman was led to believe that she had to surrender all her money to the 'authorities' to assist in criminal investigations, but after she delivered it to different strangers at various locations in the country, the suspects left the island. Reports stated those fraudsters allegedly impersonated officials from China.

In the police statement, Director of Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department David Chew thanks the Malaysian officials for their assistance.

Later, between January and May 2018 two Malaysians, Looi Yu Chong and Cha Kok Haw were arrested due to their alleged involvement in the fraud case and they were charged with money laundering offences.

As per Section 415 of Singapore's Penal Code if these two alleged offenders convicted, then they can face five years of imprisonment or fine or both.

The crime records showed that from January to June 2018 "China officials" impersonation scams have increased to 182 cases from in the first half of 2018, from 58 cases in the same period last year.

Earlier the police to take some precautions to avoid such scams and these are:

  • Don't panic – Ignore the calls and caller's instructions. No government agency will request for personal details or transfer of money over the phone or through automated voice machines. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.
  • Don't believe – Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait a while, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.
  • Don't give – Do not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details. Such information is useful to criminals.

If any member of the public wants to know more details about the scams, they are also advised to visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688and in case of urgent police assistance, people can dial 999.

In the case of submitting information on such scam, people can also call the police at 1800-255 0000 or submit the details online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.