Singapore has seen the number of scams involving “fake” gambling platforms rise by more than 18 times, to 299 cases, between 2019 and 2020, with victims losing in aggregate SGD15.4 million (US$11.6 million). That is according to media reports in the city-state, citing information from the Singapore Police Force.
Victims were introduced to the problematic platforms – either applications or websites – via some online-dating sites, according to the reports. The sales pitch of the scammers was that the gambling sites had loopholes that would allow consumers to reap profits from playing on them.
Those targeted were asked to open a ‘betting account’ and deposit money in a bank account, in exchange for ‘betting credits’ and the right to cash out their ‘winnings’, Singapore media reported.
Those falling for the trick would then be told their ‘betting accounts’ had been frozen and that they would need to deposit more money in order to cash out their ‘winnings’. After the victims transferred more money to their ‘betting account’, the scammers would cease all communication and the ‘online betting’ site concerned would become inaccessible.
The ‘fake gambling’ cases made up 83 percent of 359 consumer-targeting scams that were probed by Singapore’s police between 2019 and 2020. The remainder were mostly investment frauds facilitated by suspected organised criminals opening bank accounts to snare money from the public.
A total of 98 suspects was investigated in relation to the 359 scams.
Victims as well as alleged perpetrators of gambling frauds, risk falling foul of Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act, according to the media reports, citing the police.
Anyone in Singapore opening a betting account with such a scam site, and placing ‘bets’ with it, could – if convicted by a Singapore court – face a fine of up to SGD5,000, or a jail term of up to six months, or both.
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