Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Scam Victims Who are Children/Teens Aged 17 and Below, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 03 November 2020


Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in the past year, how many scam victims have been children/teens aged 17 and below; (b) what are the common scams targeting children; (c) what are the measures taken to mitigate this problem; and (d) whether there is a legal liability on parents when their children are found to have an account on an online platform despite not meeting the legal age of use.



    1. In the 12-month period between October 2019 and September 2020, 430 persons aged 17 and below had been a victim of scams.


    2. Victims in this age group most commonly fall prey to e-commerce scams and social media impersonation scams. In the last year, there were 214 and 105 persons aged 17 and below who were victims of e-commerce scams and social media impersonation scams respectively.


    3. The Police have been working closely with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to raise public awareness on scams, with specific messages for e-commerce scams and social media impersonation scams. In December 2018, the Police launched the “Young Police Buddy” initiative aimed at raising crime awareness, including scams, amongst primary school students. The NCPC and Police have also developed advisories for popular messaging apps like TikTok, which are frequently used by youths.


    4. The Police also work with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) to raise awareness on cyber safety. The Police and CSA recently published an interactive Cyber Safety handbook to help young readers navigate cyberspace safely and learn how to spot online scams. The handbook was distributed to all Primary 5 students and is available on CSA’s website.


    5. Our laws do not impose any legal obligation on parents to ensure that their children meet the legal age of use before setting up an online account. Nonetheless, we urge parents to play a proactive role in ensuring their children’s cyber-wellness and cyber-safety.


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