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Published 09 February 2023
3-min Read

Taking stock of the threat posed by scams in 2022, and how we can safeguard ourselves from scammers!

By: Mike Tan

Police Life 022023 Annual Scams and Cybercrime Report 2022 01
GRAPHICS: SPF

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) released its annual Scams and Cybercrime Report this week. Here are five things you should know about the scams and cybercrime situation in Singapore!


1. Scams Continue to be a Cause of Concern

Scams account for the majority of crimes reported in Singapore. Scam tactics have also continued to evolve, with scammers exploiting the emotions and vulnerabilities of their victims.

Police Life 022023 Annual Scams and Cybercrime Report 2022 02
Scam victim profiles in 2022.

Scammers tend to reach out to victims through messaging platforms, social media, phone calls, online shopping platforms and SMSes. Victims of different age groups also tend to fall for different types of scams.


2. The Majority of Scams are Perpetrated from Outside Singapore’s Jurisdiction

Transnational scam cases are difficult to investigate and prosecute, and when funds have been transferred outside of Singapore, recovery is also very difficult. Despite these challenges, the Police continue to work with overseas law enforcement agencies to take down scam syndicates. In 2022, a total of 13 scam syndicates were taken down in international operations, with the arrests of more than 70 persons who were based overseas and responsible for more than 280 cases.

Police Life 022023 Annual Scams and Cybercrime Report 2022 03
Taking a bite out of scams.

3. Tough Enforcement, Collaboration with Stakeholders and Public Education have Made a Difference

The Police’s efforts have also prevented many scams. For example, the operationalisation of the Anti-Scam Command (ASCom) in March 2022 has allowed for greater synergy between various scam-fighting units by integrating scam investigation, incident response, intervention, enforcement and sense-making capabilities under a single umbrella.

Similarly, the co-location of the staff of six banks (DBS, HSBC, SCB, UOB, CIMB and OCBC) at ASCom has enhanced the real-time coordination in investigations. In 2022, the ASCom froze more than 16,700 bank accounts and recovered about $146.6 million.

Police Life 022023 Annual Scams and Cybercrime Report 2022 04
How the SPF is leveraging technology to fight scams.

Tough enforcement by the SPF has also made a difference against scam operations, with 25 island-wide anti-scam enforcement operations and investigations being carried out against more than 8,000 money mules and scammers in 2022.


4. It’s a Whole-of-Government Effort Against Scams

Public agencies have stepped up to play their part in fighting scams! The Infocomm Media Development Authority has implemented the SMS Sender ID Registry and SMS Anti-Scam filtering solutions in their networks to further safeguard SMS as a communications channel.

Similarly, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Association of Banks in Singapore have introduced anti-scam measures such as removing all clickable links in emails or SMSes and implemented an emergency self-service “kill switch” to strengthen the security of digital banking.

In terms of public education, the Ministry of Home Affairs, SPF and National Crime Prevent Council have also launched the new anti-scam campaign “I Can ACT (Act, Check, Tell) Against Scams” to raise awareness about simple things we can all do to fight scams.

Police Life 022023 Annual Scams and Cybercrime Report 2022 05
The top 10 scams of concern in 2022.

5. Fighting Scams is a Community Effort

Business operators also have a responsibility to prevent, deter and detect crimes on their platforms by putting in place anti-scam measures to keep customers safe. We can all play a part to keep Singapore safe and secure. Be vigilant and intervene quickly to stop our loved ones from falling victims to scammers!

 

Learn more about the SPF’s:

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