Last year, a syndicate group was charged for cheating SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) of almost $40 million in fraudulent claims in 2017.
They made use of nine business entities, including employer companies and training providers, to claim false training grants coming up to that amount across six months.
An inter-agency task force had to be set up in response, and the situation was even addressed in Parliament, where Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung raised the issue of SSG’s “weakness” in their fraud detection capabilities.
In 2018, there were more cases involving 4,400 individuals, who falsely claimed to have attended SSG courses and were wrongly granted over $2 million worth of credits.
The Government has been working on improving fraud detection and prevention for SSG, and now they will be rolling out some new measures.
Future classes will use QR codes to mark participants’ attendance, to make it harder for people to submit false claims saying they went for a course.
When you sign up for a SkillsFuture course, you will receive a QR code in your email, which is linked to your SingPass account and will only be valid for use at the course session you’re registered for.
SSG will also use data analytics and machine learning to monitor claim submissions and detect suspicious ones more effectively.
It’s definitely a huge step up (although a bit late), as claims were previously checked manually, and only based on random samples among the 600,000 claims submitted yearly.
SkillsFuture Singapore Chief Executive Ng Cher Pong said they have to evolve their fraud management systems to “better safeguard the funds earmarked for the skills development of our workforce”, as fraudsters become increasingly skilled.
However, this should continue to go hand in hand with traditional methods like whistleblowing, he said.
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