Scams push crime rate to highest since 2009

The number of scams reported last year hit a record high, climbing 65.1 per cent from 2019, as scammers took more than $201 million from their victims.

The 15,756 reported cases of scams pushed the overall crime rate to its highest since 2009, according to figures released by the police on Tuesday. If scams were excluded, the total number of crimes last year would have fallen by 15.3 per cent to 21,653, from 25,570 in 2019.

E-commerce scams, the most commonly reported type of scam last year, saw a 19.1 per cent jump to 3,354 reported cases compared with 2019. The police said on Tuesday that this was partly due to the increase in online transactions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Aileen Yap, assistant director of the Commercial Affairs Department's (CAD) Specialised Commercial Crime Division, said the police actively sieve out online monikers, URLs and advertisements from police reports and send them to online marketplaces to remove these accounts "so that we disrupt their operation and stop them from carrying out all these scams".

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) launched an app, ScamShield, in November last year to filter out SMSes and phone calls sent and made by scammers. It is available for iPhone users, and an Android version is being developed.

CAD director David Chew said that while the authorities have made "significant inroads in disrupting scammers", the scam numbers continue to rise.

For e-commerce scams, the total amount cheated increased to $6.9 million last year, from $2.3 million in 2019. The largest sum cheated in a single case was $1.9 million.

Carousell continued to have the most e-commerce scams with 1,319 cases, or 39.3 per cent, of all reported e-commerce scams. Common scam transactions involved the sales of electronic gadgets, Covid-19-related items and personal accessories.

Last year, the Anti-Scam Centre received more than 11,190 reports involving losses of more than $164.6 million. It froze more than 9,015 bank accounts and recovered 35 per cent of the total amount scammed, or about $57.6 million.

The authorities said collaboration with key stakeholders, like banks, fintech companies, telcos and the online marketplace, is key.

The Straits Times


அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!