Collaboration with UOB attests to the importance of a strong partnership with community stakeholders to effectively combat scams and transnational fraud, the Police said.
Singapore Police have recovered over USD 4.91 million from an alleged business e-mail scam, the largest single sum recovered since its Anti-Scam Centre was set up in June last year.
Singapore Police were alerted to the case by UOB (United Overseas Bank) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), after a foreign bank contacted UOB requesting the urgent recall of USD 5 million that had been transferred into a Singapore-based UOB account belonging to a local corporate entity.
The Anti-Scam Centre promptly froze the Singapore-based UOB account and recovered a portion of the money. The Centre continued to work with UOB to trace the remaining monies and successfully recalled funds that had been transferred to a Malaysia-based UOB account.
The swift action of the Anti-Scam Centre and partnership with UOB had led to the recovery of more than USD 4.91 million of the USD 5 million that was fraudulently transferred, the Police said in an official statement. “Efforts are underway to trace and recover the remaining monies.”
“The Police’s collaboration with the bank attests to the importance of a strong partnership with community stakeholders to effectively combat scams and transnational fraud. The Police would like to commend UOB for their invaluable assistance in the recovery of the monies.”
The CAD (Commercial Affairs Department) is investigating the Singapore corporate entity for its suspected involvement in money laundering offences linked to the business email compromise scam.
The Singapore Police asks companies to adopt crime prevention measures, including to boost staff education and awareness, implement additional layers of checks before transactions are made, enable 2FA where possible, and install email authentication tools.
At least 209 reports of business e-mail compromise scams were received in Singapore in the first six months of the year, up from 164 cases in the same period last year. Victims were cheated of at least USD 11.7 million between January and June this year.
The largest sum recovered previously was USD 4.7 million, part of the approximately USD 10.7 million a French pharmaceutical company transferred to a Singapore bank account to pay for a large shipment of surgical masks and hand sanitisers. UOB help with the majority of the recovered funds.