Growing concern for Singapore police
A recent spike in gambling scams in Singapore has resulted in victims losing a combined total of SGD15.4m ($11.6m) over the past two years. The scams saw victims coaxed into opening betting accounts on fake gambling platforms.
the number of fake gambling platforms increased more than 18-fold
According to an announcement by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Sunday, the number of fake gambling platforms increased more than 18-fold from 2019 to 2020. Authorities registered a total of 299 cases in that span.
The fake gambling scams made up 83% of the 359 total consumer-targeting scams investigated by police during the period. The remaining cases related mainly to investment scams, which saw a 126% increase in the same time.
Luring in their victims
In its Sunday briefing, the SPF said gambling scammers often befriended their victims via online dating platforms. They then convinced them to access a fake betting application or website. The scammers often told victims they could earn easy profits through loopholes on the gambling platforms.
Once victims had deposited money in exchange for betting credits, the scammers froze their accounts. They then requested more money for the victim to access their account and claim their “winnings.” Once a victim deposited more money, the scammer ended all communication.
According to Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act, perpetrators of gambling scams such as these risk a fine of up to SGD5,000 ($3,755) and a jail term of up to six months. Altogether, police investigated 98 suspects connected to the 359 consumer-targeting scams.
An international problem
A number of other countries across the world have also seen recent gambling-related scams or fraud.
Earlier this month, fraudsters in a Macau casino cashed out HKD190,000 ($24,500) using fake casino chips. Authorities declined to name the property in question. After his arrest, one 51-year-old suspect admitted he purchased 150 fake chips online for a fee of CNY60,000 ($9,293). Police have yet to arrest the suspect’s partner.
a multimillion-dollar global sports betting scam
In Australia, police apprehended Peter Foster in August of last year for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar global sports betting scam. Allegedly, Foster offered to place wagers on behalf of investors using expert bettors. He then personally acquired the betting money which he laundered in New South Wales.
Meanwhile, in December 2019, the UK Gambling Commission warned the public about lottery-related scams and fraud. The national regulator advised UK residents on how to recognize the scams, which are typically prevalent over the holiday period. This guidance included checking payment details and avoiding operators that use exaggerated language.