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Singapore (VNA) – Cybercrime in Singapore surged 95 percent in 2015 from the previous year, contributing to a 4 percent rise in the overall crime in the island State, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in its annual crime report.

According to the SPF, cheating involving e-commerce rose 30.5 percent to 2,173 cases last year, compared to 1,665 cases in 2014. The total sum cheated was about 1.76 million SGD (roughly 1.3 million USD), with the largest amount in a single case at approximately 50,000 SGD.

Online scams targeting buyers rose 30.1 percent to 1,887 cases, up from 1,450 cases. The total sum cheated was about 1.34 million SGD. Scams targeting sellers also increased by 25.4 percent to 153 cases.

The number of people falling victim to credit-for-sex scams, where culprits use mobile messaging platforms to ask victims to purchase gift cards or virtual credit in exchange for sexual services, surged to 1,203 cases compared to 66 cases in 2014. The total sum cheated was about 2.9 million SGD.

There was also a spike in cases related to internet love scam, with 383 cases reported compared to 198 cases in the previous year. The total amount cheated was about 12 million SGD, with the largest amount at nearly 600,000 SGD.

As online fraud transcends national boundaries, the police have been working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies to take action against overseas syndicates, said Director of SPF's Commercial Affairs Department David Chew.

The police will also investigate and prosecute Singaporeans and residents found to be involved in online scams or helping foreign syndicates in criminal activities, he added.

Most notably, the police had conducted an eight-month joint investigation with Chinese authorities in 2015, to apprehend a fraud syndicate targeting Singaporeans. A total of 43 people were arrested with about 1.6 million SGD cheated.

At the same time, other crimes such as robbery and violence in Singapore dropped to the lowest level in two decades.-VNA