Checked out the weekly Scams Bulletin yet? Here’s how the SPF's Scam Public Education Office is providing scam-fighting information to the public.
By: Leow Su Ling
Beyond strengthening our infrastructure, laws and enforcement capabilities, public education is key to combating scams. Police Life hears from Mr Jeffery Chin, Deputy Director of the Scam Public Education Office (SPEO), to learn more about his work.
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve served as a psychologist with the Home Team for over 15 years, in various roles such as operations support, research and training. I’ve always been passionate about applying Psychology and the Behavioural Sciences to support law enforcement to fight crime and keep the community safe.
Share with us about SPEO.
It was set up earlier in January 2023 within the Operations Department of the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Our team consists of Police officers, civilian officers and psychologists who work closely together to drive anti-scam public education efforts.
Everyone is vulnerable to scams. Given how the different population segments receive and internalise information, we need to use different communication channels and tailor our public education messages in ways that are relevant to, and which resonates, with different population segments.
SPEO seeks to expand the SPF’s outreach on scams by leveraging our partnerships with public and private entities, ensuring consistent anti-scam messaging across communication and social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. We also rally the community to co-create and amplify anti-scam messages and programmes for their respective networks.
What’s a week at work like for you?
It depends. No one week is similar. It can range from meeting with partners to discuss collaboration efforts, discussions on plans for public education materials and engagement events, to discussions on how we can enhance our comms and public education efforts drawing from best practices and extant research evidence.
One of SPEO’s major initiatives is our weekly Scams Bulletin, which we launched in March 2023. The Bulletin is shared with news outlets, via our Police and partners’ formal and informal networks through WhatsApp, and also on the SPF’s social media platforms. It provides quick and bite-sized information on the top-five trending scams in the past week, how the different scams work and how we can protect ourselves from them.
We seek to be able to extend our reach via the various channels we use, to get timely information regarding the latest scam trends to the public, so that everyone is aware and can protect themselves against falling prey. The Bulletin has received a good response from the public; please do look out for it and share it with your family and friends!
What do you find most meaningful about your work?
The impact of scam victimisation can be significant. It’s often not just about monetary loss. Victims may become estranged from their friends and family, experience psychological distress and grow distrustful of themselves and others. Through the work of SPEO and its partners, I hope the public can become more aware of their vulnerability to scams, be able to recognise scam signs and take preventive measures against scams. Ultimately, we hope to be able to enhance the public’s resilience against scams through our work.
What final words of advice do you have to prevent us from becoming victims?
Scam tactics are constantly evolving. In addition to being vigilant, we should also ACT – Add, Check and Tell – against scams by taking preventive actions like installing the ScamShield app on our mobile devices and keeping ourselves and our loved ones updated about the latest scam trends. Our actions can serve as an additional layer of defense to protect ourselves and our loved ones against scams. Only download and install the ScamShield app from official app stores on your mobile phone to block scam calls and filter SMSes.
Let’s ACT Against Scams
If you need advice, you can call the National Crime Prevention Council Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit its website for more information.