Say whatever you want about Singapore, one thing you can’t deny is how safe this country is.
I mean, even in the midst of a pandemic, Singapore’s still the second-safest place to live in the entire world.
And, of course, where else in the world can a young girl walk outside alone at night, counting $1,000 notes?
But, just because there’s low crime, doesn’t mean there’s no crime.
And in 2020, you’ll notice a very interesting trend in Singapore.
S’pore Remains 1 of the Safest Countries in the World But Number of Scam Cases Has Increased
On 18 Feb 2021, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) released an infographic on their Twitter account.
Singapore remains one of the safest cities in the world coming in first place in the Gallup’s 2020 Global Law and Order report. pic.twitter.com/aL5zHhzkme
— SingaporePoliceForce (@SingaporePolice) February 18, 2021
If you pay attention to the infographic, you’ll notice that overall, the crime rate in Singapore has increased last year.
However, it’s all because of one type of crime: Scams.
Without including scams, the overall crime rate in Singapore (consisting of offences like theft, breaking and entering, etc) actually fell by 15.3%.
When you include scams, however, the overall crime rate increases by 6.5%.
Over S$200 Million Cheated in Scams
Over the course of 2020, 15,756 scam cases were reported to the police.
S$201.20 million were cheated by the top 10 scams.
The top scams of concern in 2020 are:
- E-commerce Scams (increased by 19.1%): S$6.9 million cheated
- Social Media Impersonation Scams (increased by 282.9%): S$5.5 million cheated
- Loan Scams (increased by 13.7%): S$14.5 million cheated
- Banking-related Phishing Scams (increased by 1577.5%: S$5.8 million cheated
If you can read between the lines, while loan scams increased by the lowest, the damage caused by one case can be pretty high.
A cybercrime that’s worthy of mention in 2020 is Cyber Extortion, which increased by 260.3%.
The Terrifying Side Of Scams
A survey by the Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre (HTBSC) also found that it is possible for a person to be scammed multiple times.
- 4,043 Singaporeans and permanent residents were polled in the survey.
- 60% of them said they encounter scams on an average of 3.17 times per month.
- 7% said they were scam victims, but that’s not the surprising part.
- Nearly half of them were young and working adults between the age of 20 and 39 years old.
That’s right, young people are just as susceptible to scams..
Here are some common factors among the scam victims:
- Tend to click on pop-up advertisements on websites
- Open e-mails from unknown sources
- Don’t understand what safe online practices is all about
- Believed that the authorities will send emails or text messages with links for them to click on
- Shared their passwords and OTPs
- Lack of knowledge on scam tactics and financial literacy
- Lack of social support from family and friends.
Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine or immunity response available, unlike Covid-19.
On a separate note, if you’re an iPhone user, how about downloading the government app that can help protect against scams?
Feature Image: August Phunitiphat / Shutterstock.com / SPF