SINGAPORE: Police in Malaysia and Singapore have arrested 34 suspects — 13 of them Nigerians — for allegedly running an online scam, where at least 100 victims lost a total of more than $6.4 million in fake online relationships.
The suspects have been extorting money from unsuspecting victims by pretending to be their online spouses. They would tell their victims that they were sending them gifts, and in order to receive the gifts, the victims had to transfer some money to “customs and immigration officers.”
“These guys are on the Internet, posing as doctors, professionals, making friends with people around the world,” David Chew, an officer at Singapore Commercial Affairs Department, told press.
Others have been courting unsuspecting social media users with the aim of building trust so that they can ask them for loans to make investments. Once they get the loans, they become untraceable, according to Chew.
Most of these fraudsters are using believable profiles, including stealing pictures of well-known and trusted people online.
“These people are very good with the way they are tickling the feelings, the emotions, and the hearts of their potential victims. So beware,” Sani said.
Addressing the media in a joint press conference in Singapore, security officials from the two Asian countries warned people to be extra careful when getting in to online relationships with strangers, especially during Valentine’s Day.