11 suspects, including 4 teens, nabbed in islandwide anti-scam operations

Eleven individuals, including four teenagers, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a series of banking-related malware scams, the police said in a statement.

The teenagers, three male and one female, are aged between 16 and 19. The other seven suspects, six men and one woman are aged between 20 and 57.

Another six people, aged between 21 and 41, are assisting with the investigations following an island-wide anti-scam enforcement operation conducted from Sept 11 to 2.

The suspects are believed to have facilitated the scam cases by relinquishing their bank accounts, Internet banking credentials and Singpass credentials for monetary gains.

A 28-year-old man is also suspected to have withdrawn money from his bank account and handed it to an unknown person.

The police have seen a rise in reports of malware being used to compromise Android mobile devices since January 2023.

Victims have reported unauthorised transactions made from their bank accounts, despite not revealing their Internet banking credentials, One-Time-Passwords (OTPs), or Singpass credentials to anyone.

The victims were lured into downloading malicious Android Package Kit (APK) from non-official app stores, which led to malware being installed on their mobile devices.

The scammers were then able to take full control of the victims' phones, steal banking credentials, and transfer money to money mules.

The investigations are ongoing.

If found guilty of money laundering, the suspects could face up to 10 years in jail, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both.

Disclosing Singpass credentials under Section 8 of the Computer Misuse Act 1993 could lead to a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The police have advised the public not to click on suspicious links, scan unknown QR codes, or download mobile apps from third-party websites or unknown sources.

They also urged the public to reject seemingly attractive money-making opportunities promising fast and easy payouts for the use of their Singpass accounts, bank accounts, or for allowing their personal bank accounts to be used to receive and transfer money for others.

For more information on scams, the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688.

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