Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 12/24/2012 00:28 | By Channel NewsAsia

More S’poreans fall prey to "lucky draw" phone scams

More S’poreans fall prey to "lucky draw" phone scams

More S’poreans fall prey to "lucky draw" phone scams

SINGAPORE: More Singaporeans fell prey to lucky draw phone scams in the first eight months of the year.

Police said there were 234 reported cases in the period, of which 134 victims were cheated of their money.

Between January and August last year, there were 201 reported cases of lucky draw phone scams and 123 victims who were cheated.

The amount of money cheated from victims went up by 21 per cent to S$4.6 million, compared to S$3.8 million in the same period last year.

Police said victims include professionals, youths and senior citizens.

Tricksters would typically call their victims and inform them that they have won a prize in a lucky draw overseas.

In order to redeem the prize, which could be a luxury car or air tickets, the victim will have to pay a processing fee or tax upfront.

After receiving the first payment via bank transfers, the tricksters would ask for subsequent payments.

The victim usually realises he or she has been cheated when the culprit becomes uncontactable.

Police advised the public to call 999 immediately if they receive a lucky draw phone scam call.

The public should not make any advance payment to claim any prize.

On the other hand, fewer phone kidnap scam cases were reported in the first eight months of the year.

Police said it received 251 reports from the public. This is a 36 per cent fall from the same period last year, which saw 393 cases.

Of the reported cases, 20 individuals lost S$115,000 to scammers.

The amount lost registered a 39 per cent fall as compared to the period between January and August last year, where victims were cheated of S$189,000.

In these scams, the modus operandi involves the culprits calling the victims to inform them that their family member had been kidnapped.

The family member who was purportedly kidnapped would plead for help over the phone.

The victims would then be compelled to pay a ransom via a selected remittance centre.

Police said some of the remittance centres where victims were often instructed to proceed to are located in Ang Mo Kio Central, People’s Park Complex and Pearl’s Centre.

In almost all cases, the victim could negotiate with the culprit on the ransom sum to an amount that the victim could afford.

Members of the public are advised to call the police at 999 if they receive a phone kidnap scam call.

They should remain calm and contact their family member to confirm his or her safety, and should not remit any money to the scammers.

— CNA/xq

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