209 people have lost $402,000 to credit-for-sex scams this year: Police

Police are warning the public about a credit-for-sex scam where scammers would befriend victims online and offer sexual services before asking the victims to make upfront payment using gift cards.

Since January, at least 209 people have lost at least $402,000 to this scam, said police.

Victims would typically befriend the scammers after they come across advertisements offering sexual services on social media, dating platforms or websites such as Locanto.

In some cases, scammers would proactively approach the victims through messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, MiChat, and WeChat.

After making arrangements to receive the sexual services, the scammers would instruct victims to make advance payment via game credits at AXS machines or via the purchase of gift cards.

The scammers would also instruct the victims to purchase the game credits with e-mail addresses provided by the scammer or ask the victims to provide the activation codes for gift cards, in exchange for the sexual services.

In some cases, the scammers would demand additional payment for a “protection fee” and threaten to harass or hurt the victims and their family members if the payment was not received.

Victims would only realise that they had been scammed when no one showed up at the meeting point and the scammers became uncontactable after payments were made, or when victims lodged a police report after being threatened by the scammer.

You are advised to adopt these crime prevention measures:

  • Be wary of friend requests or online listings offering escort, massage or sexual services as they may be fraudulent in nature.
  • Scammers may employ scare tactics to threaten victims into making more payments. Remain calm and do not accede to their requests.
  • Do not provide the activation codes for gift cards or send game credits to people you do not know or have not met in person.

If you have any information relating to such crimes, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

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

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