Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Punishments for E-commerce and Online Scams, By Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 10 May 2021


*1028. Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will enhance the punishment for ecommerce and online scams considering the large number of cases and amount of money lost to such scammers.


1.      Depending on the facts of the case, scammers can be charged with one of the cheating-related offences under Sections 417 to 420A of the Penal Code, which carry imprisonment terms of up to between three and ten years. MHA’s assessment is that the penalties are adequate.

2.      The main challenge in combating online scams is that most of the scammers are based overseas. We have been actively collaborating with foreign law enforcement agencies.  We have also enhanced collaboration with industry partners such as telcos, online marketplaces, banks and remittance companies, to detect and stop scams before they happen, or at least before the monies have been transferred to the scammer. MHA has also stepped up efforts on scam prevention through public education and awareness, as the most effective protection against scams is a discerning and vigilant public.