A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with credit-for-sex scams, the police said in a news release on Wednesday (Apr 12). The suspect is believed to have intentionally assisted a foreign scam syndicate to receive and transfer money.
At least 164 reports on credit-for-sex scams were lodged in the first three months this year and victims were cheated of more than S$389,000.
According to the police, male victims typically meet female suspects on social media platforms such as WeChat, before being asked to buy gift cards or online shopping credits in exchange for a meet-up, date or the promise of sexual services.
Victims are also instructed to buy the cards and credits at AXS machines or convenience stores, before sending images of the receipts together with PIN numbers to designated email accounts for the scammers to claim them.
Other members of the scam syndicates may occasionally contact the victims and ask for further payments, although these victims never had the chance to meet the women whom they befriend online, the police added.
Police also said another variant of the scam emerged in April. Instead of purchasing gift cards or online credits, victims were told to transfer cash to a local bank account as a deposit.
Investigations against the suspect are ongoing. Anyone found guilty of money laundering offences may be sentenced to an imprisonment term of up to 10 years, or a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.