Published: 02 August 2022
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many door-to-door donation scams are reported since 2021; (b) what is the proportion of cases where the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice; and (c) what is being done to help educate the public and reduce the incidence of such scams.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. Based on available records, there were about 30 reported cases of unlicensed door-to-door collections or donation scams since 2021. Thus far, the Police have managed to identify the perpetrators in about two-thirds of these cases. As investigations are ongoing, we would not be able to share more details.
2. Unlicensed door-to-door collections or donation scams usually involve persons claiming to be from charities or fund-raising organisations. They may present to victims fake or forged collection permits or licences, to deceive victims into making donations.
3. A House to House and Street Collections (HHSC) licence is required for any door-to-door soliciting of donations. These licences bear the name of the beneficiary, the name of the licencee, and the period for which the licence is valid.
4. When approached for donations, we encourage the public to verify the legitimacy of the collection, and practise the steps of "Ask, Check, then Give".
(a) First, ask the collector who the beneficiary is, what the donations will be used for, and how they can receive updates. Members of the public may also request for the Collector's Certificate of Authority, which would reflect the licence number, for verification.
(b) Next, check via the Charity Portal at https://www.charities.gov.sg to verify if the beneficiary is a registered charity. Members of the public may also refer to the Police@SG application, which has a link to the Charities and Fund-Raising search engine of the Charity Portal.
(c) Once assured that their donations will go to a genuine cause, the members of the public can donate with more peace of mind.
5. Should there be reasons to believe that a collection is illegitimate, members of the public may contact the Police at '999' for immediate assistance.
6. Education will be helpful to protect people from falling prey to scams. When there are instances detected, the Police will issue alerts to warn members of the public.
7. The Police also regularly share crime information, including scam prevention advice, with grassroots volunteers, for the purpose of their engagement with residents. Volunteer Crime Prevention Ambassadors from the National Crime Prevention Council also share crime prevention tips with residents, during their engagements.
8. The best defence against scams is a discerning public. We urge the public to practise healthy skepticism, and to verify the legitimacy of any door-to-door charitable collection before they donate.