Scammers Have Used COVID-19 to Scam $1.4 Million from People in S’pore

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The scamming profession, it seems, is one that will never cease.

Where its legitimate peers have fallen in light of current circumstances, scammers only seem to be going from strength to strength, as they have somehow tweaked the pandemic to work in their favour…


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By using it as an actual platform to scam random individuals.

Image: giphy.com

And I’m not done yet;

They used the ongoing pandemic to scam a total of $1.4 million.

Image: Giphy

When even Deadpool looks up at the figure with shock, you know something’s up.

Scammers Have Used COVID-19 to Scam $1.4 Million from People in S’pore

5,425 scam cases were reported from January to April 2020, with at least S$60.4 million exploited.

And of these, 394 belonged to Covid-19 related scams, which reportedly cheated at least S$1.4 million.

The numerical figures are part of Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam’s written answer to Member of Parliament Melvin Yong Yik Chye. The latter had inquired about the prevalence of scam cases in Singapore, including statistics on scam cases reported during the virus outbreak and preventative measures adopted by the Police.


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Shanmugam added that there are three types of scams pertaining to Covid-19:

  1. E-commerce scams that deal with masks and sanitisers
  2. Impersonation scams (for example, scammers pretend to be authority figures from MOH)
  3. Phishing scams, which uses false information on Covid-19 payouts to draw victims in

“The Police have been taking action against such scammers. Between February 3 and April 8, 2020, they mounted island-wide operations leading to the arrest of 27 persons who were involved in scams amounting to more than $484,000,” said the Law Minister.

Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Carousell, WhatsApp and Telegram are E-commerce and online platforms that scammers have previously exploited.

Tough Crackdown

According to Shanmugam, the Police is working with Residents’ Committees and grassroots volunteers to teach residents about scams. This is performed through mass communication platforms like WhatsApp, as well as community events like block parties, roadshows and festive events.

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The Police is also building up public education and awareness efforts. They, alongside the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) are collaborating with the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) to send out scam advisories.

Outreach will be performed via WhatsApp on the Gov.sg platform.

“The key to the fight against scams is a discerning public,” said Shanmugam.

“We should be sceptical of promises of incredulous inducements, transact only on reliable platforms, and always check with the relevant authorities when approached by dubious entities purporting to be their officials.”

Just last month, the Police issued a warning to the public in regards to scam cases, and encouraged everyone to observe the following points:

  • Do not click on links provided in unsolicited emails and text messages.
  • Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official websites or sources.
  • Never disclose personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone.
  • Report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to your bank and cancel your card immediately.

If you would like to provide information about these scams, you can call the police hotline at 1800 255 0000 or submit their information online at https://www.police.gov.sg/iwitness, or call the anti-scam helpline at 1800 722 6688.

To know more about scams, you can visit http://www.scamalert.sg or subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we showcase a couple of anti-scam videos, done in collaboration with the Singapore Police Force: