Published: 08 July 2019
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs with regard to fraudulent websites and fake social media accounts using the names of Singapore Ministers (a) whether the perpetrators have been caught; (b) what penalties will they face; and (c) what action is being taken against pages that are still active.
1. The Police review all reports of fraudulent websites and fake social media accounts using Singapore Ministers’ names.
2. Perpetrators who use Ministers’ names to defraud victims, such as by inducing investment of money through fake endorsements by the Ministers, will be liable to be charged for cheating offences. If convicted, they may be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years and also a fine. Those who operate fraudulent websites and fake accounts using Ministers’ names to cause nuisance may be investigated under the Protection from Harassment Act. If convicted of an offence of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress, they may face imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.
3. Some of the perpetrators had been identified and prosecuted. For example, in 2016, the Police successfully traced and charged the perpetrator who impersonated Senior Minister of State, Dr Koh Poh Koon, to promote online courses in his name. The perpetrator was convicted for an offence of attempted cheating by personation and fined $4,000.
4. Police work with other agencies, such as Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), to direct internet service providers in Singapore to disallow access to known fraudulent websites. Police also work with social media platforms to remove fraudulent accounts from their online platforms.
5. While the MP has only asked about the fraudulent use of Singapore Ministers’ names, Police also investigate other types of fraudulent conduct that are reported to them.