Stay vigilant collectively to stop scams | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams | romancescams | #scams

Scamming has reached new heights in recent years. Since the start of this year alone, more than $2.7 million has been swindled from at least 587 people here in phishing scams involving scammers pretending to be friends. Last year, victims in Singapore lost at least $633.3 million to scams, almost 2½ times the $268.4 million stolen by scammers in 2020. The use of smartphones in almost every aspect of everyday lives, from social connections to bank transfers, means that the risk of money being redirected elsewhere illegitimately is much higher. There is also a deeper social question around vulnerabilities that play into the hands of scammers: loneliness that makes people open to love scams; and perhaps greed leading to susceptibility to investment scams.

Financial institutions have a duty to put in place robust measures to prevent, detect and respond to scams. To stem digital banking scams, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore announced a slew of measures to be put in place by end October, including an emergency self-service “kill switch”, additional confirmation to process significant changes to customer accounts and other high-risk transactions, and setting default transaction limits for online fund transfers. Banks will co-locate staff at the Singapore Police Force Anti-Scam Centre and enhance their fraud surveillance systems to take into account a broader range of scam scenarios.

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