In 2022, Singaporean scam victims lost a total of $660,7 million, up from $632 million in 2021.
In the past two years, according to the numbers revealed by the police on Wednesday, almost $1.3 billion was lost to fraud. Contrary to popular opinion, scam victims were not predominantly old. More than 53 percent of victims of fraud were between the ages of 20 and 39.
There were 31,728 cases of fraud reported in 2022, a 32.6% rise over the 23,933 cases reported in 2021.
In 2022, there were 7,097 instances of phishing scams, a 41.3% increase over the 5,223 instances in 2021. The total amount lost by victims of phishing scams reduced by 52.6% between 2021 and 2022, from $34.8 million to $16.5 million.
In these instances, according to the police, fraudsters impersonated officials or reputable companies to deceive victims into divulging their credit card and bank account information.
Other categories of fraud that received the highest reports in 2022 were job scams, e-commerce fraud, investment fraud, and phony friend call fraud.
It was the first time that figures for a specific sort of crime were revealed separately from annual crime statistics, which will be released on February 16.
Brenda Ong, assistant director of the police public information section, stated: “In recent years, scams have surpassed many other sorts of physical crime as a considerable share of overall crime.”
She highlighted that a separate briefing on scams enabled the government to provide more information on the situation, including the most recent fraud trends and susceptible populations.
The findings disproved the idea that the elderly were the most susceptible to fraud. Twenty-to-twenty-nine year olds made up 26,7% of scam victims. Another 26% were between the ages of 30 and 39.
In fact, only 8.8 percent of scam victims were aged 60 and older, with the majority falling for phishing schemes.
The police report that con artists frequently contact young people using social media, messaging systems, and online shopping sites.
David Chew, director of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), stated, “People who are more engaged in the digital world, as well as those who are accustomed to clicking on links, are all vulnerable.”
27.2% of victims between the ages of 20 and 29 fell victim to job scams, which generally involve victims being offered internet jobs like liking social media postings or evaluating hotels.
Initially, victims would earn a commission, tempting them to provide additional monies in the hopes of receiving a larger commission. Eventually, they would not receive a refund.
Young individuals between the ages of 30 and 39 also lost money to e-commerce scams, with 18.3% of victims in this age range falling victim to this sort of fraud.
In the majority of e-commerce frauds, fraudsters list things for sale on shopping sites. Victims are charged for things that are never delivered.
In 2022, there were 4,762 such cases, and victims lost $21.3 million – a 261% increase from the $5.9 million lost in 2021.
The victims of investment scams lost $198.3 million in 2022, the most of any scam kind. This exceeded the $190,2 million lost to fraudsters in 2021.
Victims might encounter enticing investment opportunities online and, in some circumstances, make an initial profit, causing them to feel the transaction is legitimate. Once larger sums of money are sent to the con artists, they become unreachable.
The majority of online frauds are performed by individuals from outside of Singapore, according to the police.
“These fraudsters are often part of organized criminal gangs and conduct complex global operations that are difficult to identify or destroy,” the police stated, adding that it is tough to investigate and prosecute such instances.
The police highlighted that cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies and their abilities to track down fraudsters in their countries are necessary for the resolution of such cases.
13 scam networks were busted in 2022, six of which were associated with employment fraud, three with government official impersonation fraud, and two each with phishing and Internet romance fraud.
This was the result of cooperation between the Singapore Police Force and international law enforcement agencies. Over 70 persons responsible for over 280 instances of fraud were detained.
National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) started an anti-scam campaign on January 18 to combat the scam epidemic, pushing the public to “ACT” against scams.
The ACT acronym in the advertising slogan describes how individuals may Add security features, Check for signs, and Report scams to authorities and others.
NCPC vice-chairman Tan Puay Kern stated, “We lose millions of dollars per month to fraudsters. Anyone can become a victim of fraud. But if we work together, we can effectively combat fraud. Do not delay; ACT immediately.”
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He asked the public to inform their friends and family about the most recent scam trends. Before replying, individuals should be on the lookout for indicators of a scam and contact the authorities promptly if they have been victimized.