Asia

Police warn of Internet love scams involving fake parcels

SINGAPORE – More than half of the Internet love scam cases reported last year involved scammers claiming to have sent parcels containing luxury items or large sums of money to their victims, the police said on Friday (March 1).

At least $27.5 million were lost through Internet love scams last year. Police said that at least 59 per cent of the 660 cases reported involved parcel scams.

The police said the scammers’ accomplices would contact the victims and claim that the parcels had been detained for inspection by the authorities.

The scammers posed as staff members of a courier company or from government agencies.

The victims, who had typically befriended scammers online and developed relationships with them, were told they were required to transfer or remit money to local or foreign bank accounts to release the parcels.

The police said that the scammers gave fictitious reasons such as taxes, fines or anti-money laundering charges.

The victims were also threatened with the possibility of prosecution if they failed to send the money, the police added, noting that these were fraudulent claims.

The number of reported cases last year declined from the 826 in 2017 but the police said that Internet love scams remain a concern.

To avoid falling prey to these scams, the police advised the public to be careful when befriending strangers online.

They should also be wary when asked to send money to people they do not know.

If they receive a phone call with the caller demanding for payment to a bank account in relation to government fines or charges, they should remain calm and stop communicating with the caller immediately, as it is likely to be a scam.

Those with information on such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

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