S’pore cops arrest 13 people over OCBC phishing scams; seven have been charged

An array of mobile devices, cash amounting $2,760 and two Rolex watches were among the items seized. — Singapore Police Force/ST/ANN

SINGAPORE: Thirteen people aged between 19 and 22 have been arrested for their suspected involvement in the recent spate of scams targeting OCBC Bank customers.

The police said in a statement on Sunday (Feb 20) that the 13 comprise nine men and four women.

In all, 790 customers lost S$13.7mil (RM42.67mil) to the phishing scams, which took place in December and last month.

The victims received unsolicited SMSes claiming that there were issues with their banking accounts, asking them to click on a link to resolve the issue.

They were then redirected to a fake website that resembled OCBC’s and were asked to key in their ibanking account login details.

It was only after they received notifications informing them of unauthorised transactions charged to their bank accounts that victims discovered they had been scammed.

The police said they had been closely monitoring reports of the phishing scams since last December.

“Through thorough investigations and extensive probes, the identities of 13 persons suspected to be involved in the OCBC Bank phishing scams were established,” they added.

Police officers from the Criminal Investigation Department arrested the 13 in an islandwide operation on Feb 16 and 17.

An array of mobile devices, bank cards, SIM cards, cash amounting S$2,760 (RM8,597) and two Rolex watches, worth a total of S$35,600 (RM110,885), were seized.

On Feb 18, seven male suspects were charged with assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct. The offence carries an imprisonment term not exceeding 10 years, a fine not exceeding S$500,000 (RM1.55mil), or both.

The seven men have been remanded for further investigations.

Police investigations are ongoing against the other six suspects.

The police said they will spare no effort to track down any person who may be involved in scams, and perpetrators will be dealt with firmly and in accordance with the law.

To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank account or mobile lines as they will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes, the police added. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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