SINGAPORE – Six men, one woman, and three teenagers – aged between 16 and 28 – have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a spate of banking-related malware scams.
The 10 individuals were nabbed following islandwide operations conducted by the Commercial Affairs Department and Police Intelligence Department from Aug 28 to Sept 8.
Another two men and two women, aged between 20 and 49, are assisting in the investigations.
The suspects allegedly facilitated the scam cases by relinquishing their bank accounts, Internet banking credentials and Singpass credentials for monetary gains.
Since January, there has been an increase in reports of malware compromising Android devices, leading to unauthorised transactions from victims’ bank accounts.
The victims responded to advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook, downloaded an Android Package Kit from unofficial app stores as instructed by the scammers and were convinced to turn on accessibility services on their phones.
This weakened the phones’ security, enabling scammers to take control of the devices to steal banking credentials, access banking apps, add money mules, raise payment limits, transfer money and delete notifications to cover their tracks.
The offence of acquiring benefits from criminal conduct carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.
Deceiving banks into opening accounts not meant for personal use and relinquishing account login details are punishable offences, carrying a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both.
Disclosing Singpass credentials can lead to a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
The police have been warning the public against downloading apps from third-party websites or unknown sources, as these could contain malware. They also advise the public to download apps only from official app stores and to be wary of requests for Singpass and banking credentials or money transfers.
The police further advise the public to reject attractive money-making opportunities that involve the use of their Singpass accounts or bank accounts for illegal activities.
For more information on scams, the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.
Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness
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