48 victims lose $1.7m to travel package scams
Five men and two women, aged between 24 and 59, are being investigated by the police for their suspected involvement in a series of travel package scams.
At least 48 victims were cheated of no less than $1.7 million in total between March and May, after they paid for what appears to be sham travel packages offered by an online travel agency, the police said on Thursday.
The company was uncontactable and did not fulfil the agreed service.
Of the seven suspects, a 29-year-old man was charged in court on May 26 under the Computer Misuse Act for his suspected involvement in unauthorised disclosure of access code.
The offence carries a fine of up to $10,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both, for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $20,000, and jailed for up to five years, or both.
Scammers may also trick buyers into making early deposits before services are provided, and may use a local bank account or provide a copy of a NRIC or driver’s licence to make buyers believe that they are genuine sellers, the police warned.
They also advised the public to check with the Singapore Tourism Board and the National Association of Travel Agents if a vendor is an accredited travel agent, and to buy air tickets only from authorised sellers or reputable sources.
“If the price is too good to be true, it probably is,” the police added.
They also urged people to avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the service providers.
The public can visit scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.