SINGAPORE: There has been a “significant increase” in the number of credit-for-sex scam cases, with at least 53 such cases reported between Mar 1 and Mar 16, police said.
These victims have lost at least S$304,000 to such scammers since the start of the year, police added in its press release on Wednesday (Mar 22).
Scammers tend to befriend male victims through social media platforms such as WeChat, Locanto and OkCupid, and would then communicate with the victims through online messaging and phone calls.
Once a certain level of rapport has been established, the scammers would arrange to meet the victims at a certain location, where victims would either call the scammers or receive a call from unknown numbers.
The callers would then claim to be the boss or agent and convince the victims to purchase gift cards or online shopping credits such as Alipay Purchase Cards and iTunes Gift Cards in exchange for a meet-up, date or the promise of sexual favours.
They will usually insist that the victims buy the Alipay Purchase Cards through AXS machines or iTunes Gift Cards from convenience stores before asking them to send the credits directly to the scammers’ email accounts, police said.
Sometimes, other members of the syndicates will also contact the victims and ask for further purchases of online shopping credits, and victims are threatened at times if they refuse to make further purchases or payments, they added.
Police added that while a majority of the credit-for-sex scammers adopt largely Chinese-sounding monikers to target Chinese-speaking victims, there have been recent cases where scammers have used English monikers.