SINGAPORE – Mr Lin (not his real name) was not familiar with investments. But last December, a woman he befriended on Facebook encouraged him to open a trading account and introduced him to a broker she knew.

Trusting her, he invested much of his life savings into the account twice since Jan 1.

“I wanted to earn a bit more due to the pandemic,” said Mr Lin, who works in the food and beverage industry. But two weeks later, he was told his trades had failed and that he owed the broker around $53,000.

“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat,” Mr Lin said. “These are savings that I’ve saved bit by bit, from working over the years.”

Last Thursday evening (Jan 28), Mr Lin was baking cookies for Chinese New Year when the Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) of the Singapore Police Force contacted him.

That was when he learnt the bank account of the broker he had transferred almost $50,000 to has been investigated for an investment scam.

Mr Lin was one of more than 200 victims who found out that they had fallen prey to scams in the course of an ASC operation.

During the three-day operation from last Wednesday to Friday, officers from the ASC worked with banks to intervene in scams involving fake gambling platforms and investments. Together, they traced fund transfers of suspicious accounts, contacted victims who made the transactions and advised them to stop any further transfers.

Many of them were completely unaware that they had been scammed, said the police.

From 2019 to 2020, investment…

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