Commercial Affairs Department officials arrested three men for their alleged involvement in multi-million dollar gold investment scam and e-commerce scam.
Gold investment scam
The officers from Commercial Affairs Department nabbed two men with the assistance from the Royal Malaysia Police for their suspected involvement in Genneva Pte Ltd (Genneva), which is a gold investment company that sold gold bars under a buyback scheme between 2008 and 2012.
As mentioned in a news release, Genneva Pte Ltd sold gold bars to customers with promised returns as high as 36% per annum over a contract period. The company also implemented a 'Gold Inspection' exercise, where the customers were asked to deposit their gold bars with Genneva when renewing their contracts.
"This was purportedly for the purpose of ascertaining the authenticity and purity of the customers' gold. The customers were told that Genneva would return them an equivalent quantity of gold after three working days," the news release added.
The authority also confirmed that within two months the scammers collected almost 3500 kg of gold through the 'Gold Inspection' exercise. But the company failed to return about 640 kg of gold that worth $45 million to its customers as due to its financial difficulties.
Later, the officers arrested one of the alleged scammer, the general manager of Genneva at the material time. The unnamed man was charged in court with fraudulent trading under Section 340(5) of the Companies Act on February 22, while the other man who was the head of operations of the company at the material time, was charged in court on Tuesday, February 26 under the same Act.
In another case, police received several reports from victims who had purchased various products, such as baby care products, EZ-link charms and TV set-up boxes, listed on Carousell. The victims stated that after they made the payment via bank transfers, they did not receive the items and the seller became untraceable.
Later the officers from the Commercial Affairs Department started their investigation and identified the man behind the scam. On Monday, February 25 the authority arrested the man, who is liable for a punishment that includes an imprisonment term, which may extend to 10 years, as well as a fine.
The Singapore Police Force advised people to take few precautions to avoid such scams and there are:
- Bear in mind that the party you are dealing with online is a stranger. Before performing a transaction on an online shopping site, find out how the site safeguards your interest or can help you resolve disputes;
- Insist on cash on delivery especially if responding to online classified advertisements;
- If advance payments are required, use shopping platforms that provide arrangements to only release your payment to the seller upon your receipt of the item;
- Be mindful that although sellers may provide a copy of an identification card or driver's licence to gain your trust, it may not necessarily belong to the person communicating with you online; and
- Note that scammers may use a local bank account to enhance credibility; however, the owner of the account may not be the person communicating with you online.
"For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness," they added.