Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the number of business e-mail compromise scams in the last five years; (b) what have been the financial losses in total and how much has been recovered; and (c) whether there are plans to better educate potential victims of such business e-mail compromise scams.
- The number of business e-mail impersonation scams has increased over the past five years, from 98 cases in 2014 to 378 cases in 2018.
- The amount cheated has increased in tandem, from about $11 million in 2014 to about $57 million in 2018. The Police do not track the amount of money recovered from scams. Whenever monies are recovered, Police will apply to the Courts to have them returned to the rightful owners. These scams are usually conducted by overseas criminal syndicates, and thus it is not easy to recover the monies.
- The Police have been working with stakeholders such as the Singapore Business Federation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority to step up public education on business e-mail impersonation scams. These efforts include sending out advisories in email broadcasts to members, disseminating pamphlets during outreach events, and posting of advisories on their web portals and social media platforms. The Police have also sent out advisory messages to about 80,000 individual businesses.
- The Police have also set up an Anti-Scam Helpline (1800-722-6688) and the www.scamalert.sg website. Businesses and members of the public are encouraged to visit the website to learn about the various types of scam and the steps to take to avoid becoming a victim.