betty August 2, 2022

SINGAPORE – Two youngsters who gave their Singpass details to fraudsters to open bank accounts, for the purpose of laundering money from phishing scams, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Aug 2).

They were among eight suspects who were arrested in June for their roles in a spate of phishing scams where at least 60 victims lost more than $60,000. Most of their cases are still before the courts.

One of the accused, 17, cannot be named as he is under 18 and is covered under the Children and Young Persons Act, while the other is Nur Farhanah Samsuri, 18.

The court heard that the 17-year-old, a student, received messages on Telegram in May from someone called Fael, who offered him $800 in exchange for his Singpass account details.

The boy rejected the offer at first, aware that his account could be used to open bank accounts and that he had received messages from SingPass not to give away details, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Da Zhuan.

But Fael pestered the boy, who soon took up the offer.

The boy waited for the $800 reward from Fael, who later informed him that he was unable to access the Singpass account and said he would be returning it without any payment.

It turned out that Fael lied as he or his associates had used the details to open an HSBC bank account, which was used to launder $1,000 from a phishing scam victim, a 20-year-old woman.

She mistakenly clicked on a DBS Internet banking site, which prompted her to resolve issues with her credit card, and was tricked into entering her 16-digit credit card number and details, said DPP Lee.

On June 7, she found unauthorised bank transactions and called the police.

Farhanah, who worked as a warehouse assistant then, was also approached by Fael in June on Instagram. He offered her up to $600 in exchange for her Singpass details, said DPP Daniel Ling.

Farhanah gave her details and received $200.

Her details were used to open four Standard Chartered Bank accounts. Later that month, victims alerted the police that their money had been fraudulently transferred into a bank account under Farhanah’s name.

The bank stopped the transactions in time and the victims did not suffer any losses.