MAS sets up taskforce, tackle e-payment scams S’pore consumers face

To better protect consumers against scams and fraudulent electronic payment transactions, Singapore’s central bank has established a task force – with banks and key payment players.

The working group will examine measures and steps to better protect consumers against scams and fraudulent transactions. This was shared today by the Minister of State for the Interior, Desmond Tan, during a seminar on financial crime organized by the Association of Banks of Singapore.

Tan noted that Singapore continues to see a significant increase in the number of reported scams. Police received more than 15,000 fraud cases last year, involving around S $ 200 million. This is a 65% increase from a year ago.

A Singaporean took to social media to post a scam incident in 2019 / Image credit: Asiaone

Scammers often use various tricks to trick victims into sharing their one-time password (OTP) numbers. OTPs are verification numbers sent to consumers via text messages or digital banking tokens during online transactions.

There have been cases of customers claiming that OTPs sent via SMS have been intercepted by imposters and that fraudulent purchases have been made on their credit cards.

Government and stakeholders collaborate to root out con artists

It comes as ABS is working with banks in Singapore to improve OTP verification processes through the use of digital tokens. The association worked with banks to include warning messages in their OTP SMS.

Last year, frontline bank staff intercepted 76 cases of fraud involving around S $ 3 million.

An increase in the overall crime rate due to an increase in fraud cases / Image credit: SPF Annual Crime Brief 2020

The government is working with companies in the financial sector to crack down on scams. This includes a collaboration between the Police Scam Center and more than 30 financial institutions, online marketplaces and telecommunications service providers to intercept the proceeds of illicit scams and recover funds from victims.

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Featured Image Credit: Bangkok Post, SPF

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