5 Malaysians extradited to Singapore over fake friend scams

5 Malaysians extradited to Singapore over fake friend scams
The men, aged between 19 and 36, were arrested after Malaysian police officers raided two apartments in Johor on Jan 16.
PHOTO: Singapore Police Force

SINGAPORE — Five Malaysian men are expected to be charged in court on Jan 24 for their suspected involvement in fake friend call scam operations targeting Singaporeans.

This comes after the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Department of the Royal Malaysia Police busted a transnational scam syndicate in a joint operation.

The men, aged between 19 and 36, were arrested after Malaysian police officers raided two apartments in Johor on Jan 16. They were extradited to Singapore on Jan 23.

Preliminary investigations showed the syndicate started operating the scams in June 2023, and may be involved in more than 500 scam reports with losses amounting to more than $1.4 million.

Fake friend call scams involve scammers contacting victims through text messages or phone calls, pretending to be someone they know, and afterwards asking for financial help. 

From January to November 2023, more than 6,300 victims fell prey to fake friend call scams, with total losses of at least $21.1 million. 

The men will be charged with engaging in a conspiracy to cheat and, if found guilty, may each face a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. 

CAD director David Chew said the police have been working closely with their Malaysian counterparts to detect and cripple such transnational syndicates.

"We will continue to take tough action against individuals who perpetuate scams even if they are based overseas," he added. 

The police advise the public to be wary of unusual phone calls or messages from "friends" who ask for financial assistance. 

The public should also check if there are signs of a scam and verify the details with official sources such as www.scamalert.sg, or call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-772-6688.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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