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MAS sets up taskforce to tackle e-payment scams faced by S’pore consumers, financial firms

To better protect consumers against scams and fraudulent e-payment transactions, Singapore’s central bank has set up a taskforce – with banks and key payment players.

The taskforce will look at measures and steps to better protect consumers against scams and fraudulent transactions. This was shared by Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan at a financial crime seminar today, hosted by the Association of Banks Singapore.

Tan noted that Singapore continues to see a significant rise in the number of scams reported. Last year, the police received more than 15,000 scam cases, involving around S$200 million. This is an increase of 65 per cent compared to a year ago.

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

The scammers often use various ruses to induce victims to share their one-time-password (OTP) numbers. OTPs are verification numbers sent to consumers via SMSes or bank’s digital tokens when making transactions online.

There have been cases where customers claim that the OTPs sent via SMSes were intercepted by impostors, and fraudulent purchases were made on their credit cards.

Government and stakeholders collaborate to stamp out scammers

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

Last year, frontline banking staff intercepted 76 scam cases involving about S$3 million.

An increase in the overall crime rate due to a rise in scam cases / Image Credit: SPF Annual Crime Brief 2020

The government has been working with companies in the finance industry to clamp down on scams. This includes a collaboration between the Police Anti-Scam Centre and more than 30 financial institutions, online marketplaces and telecommunication service providers to intercept illicit scam proceeds and recover funds to victims.


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Featured Image Credit: Bangkok Post, SPF

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