Sunday 30 November 2014

Police launch drive to warn about scams

Aim to raise awareness, with rise in number of cyber cases
By Amir Hussain, The Straits Times, 29 Nov 2014

CASES of cyber scams are five times more common today than a year ago, and the police want people to be aware of such online traps.

An anti-scam public education campaign using a website with stories about common scams, posters at MRT stations and bus stops, and an anti-scam television commercial will be rolled out by next year.

Through these and other measures, the police and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) hope to tell people here about common scams, especially those online.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign yesterday, NCPC chairman Tan Kian Hoon noted that the number of cheating cases involving e-commerce has risen sharply. There were 504 cases of cheating involving e-commerce for the first six months of the year, up from 96 cases for the same period last year.

"Unlike other crimes where vigilant neighbours or members of the public can keep a lookout for one another, online scammers strike when victims are in the cyber world. Therefore, the most effective way to prevent such crimes is to increase awareness and remind all of the need to be vigilant in cyberspace," Mr Tan said.

The anti-scam website,, will provide information on common types of scams.

A Scam Alert! Photo Contest was also held on Facebook from Nov 1 to 16, inviting contestants to submit a photo with a crime prevention caption.

Contest winner Sum Pei Yi's entry depicted the 32-year-old getting a scam phone call alleging that her two-yearold baby had been abducted.

Ms Sum, who won $1,500, said: "It's natural for parents to panic and break down when they hear that their child has been kidnapped.

"I hope to remind all parents to stay calm. All they need to do is to call their loved ones first to check that they are fine."

With more people shopping online in the festive season, there is all the more reason to be wary of scams, said Mr Tan.

People should also beware of the less high-tech, but also common crime of pickpocketing. On Thursday, the police said they received 16 reports of pickpocketing and theft along Orchard Road between Oct 26 and Nov 16.

All 16 cases occurred between noon and 6pm, and victims had their valuables stolen as they were walking in crowded areas or had left their items unattended.

The police urged the public to remain vigilant against crime during the festive period and to safeguard their belongings.

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