SINGAPORE – The police are investigating 226 men and 99 women who are suspected to be involved in scams that cost victims more than $8.9 million.

These suspects could have been either scammers or money mules who were part of 943 cases of scams, which include Internet love scams, government and China officials impersonation scams, e-commerce scams and job scams, said the police on Friday (Aug 19).

They are aged between 16 and 73 and were identified after a two-week police operation between Aug 5 and 18.

The suspects are being investigated for alleged cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence.

Cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. Money laundering carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

Running a business to provide unlicenced payment services carries a fine of up to $125,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.

The police said the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank accounts or mobile lines as the owners will be held accountable if any of their transactions are linked to crimes.

Last year, victims in Singapore lost at least $633.3 million to scams, almost 2½ times of the $268.4 million stolen by scammers in 2020.

At least 90 per cent of scams in Singapore originate from overseas.

Among the most common ruses are job scams, where victims are lured by the convenience of easy, remote jobs promising high commissions; phishing scams, where an attacker steals data by pretending to be from a reputable organisation; and investment scams, where people are tricked into investing money in fake opportunities.