How to Avoid Scams with Anti-Scam Centre Singapore

Scams are on the rise, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have received suspicious SMSes, phone calls, or emails from unknown sources, claiming to offer you attractive deals, prizes, or refunds. Or you may have encountered fake websites, social media accounts, or online platforms that lure you into making payments or revealing your personal information. These are all common tactics used by fraudsters to cheat you of your hard-earned money.

But don’t worry, you are not alone in this fight against scams. There is a dedicated team of professionals who are working tirelessly to protect you from these online predators. They are the Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

What is the Anti-Scam Centre?

The ASC was set up by the SPF under the Commercial Affairs Department on 18 June 2019 to serve as the Police’s nerve centre for investigating scam-related crimes. The ASC aims to disrupt and prevent scam operations so as to mitigate victims’ monetary losses through the swift recovery of proceeds of crime, amongst other initiatives.

The ASC adopts six I’s in its approach – Information processing, Intervention, Investigations, Initiatives, Inculcation and International Co-operation. Here are some of the ways the ASC achieves its mission:

  • The ASC proactively carries out online trawling and provides advisories to potential scam victims.
  • The ASC partners with more than 80 institutions, including local and foreign banks, card security groups, non-bank financial institutions, Fintech companies and cryptocurrency houses, and remittance service providers in Singapore, to swiftly freeze accounts, recover funds and reduce losses suffered by victims.
  • The ASC conducts bi-weekly joint operations with the seven Police Divisions, resulting in more than 9,000 scammers and money mules being called up for investigations in the past two years.
  • The ASC collaborates with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the Government Technology Agency to develop the ScamShield app, which features artificial intelligence technology to identify and filter scam messages.
  • The ASC launches Project FRONTIER, which stands for Funds Recovery Operations and Networks Team, Inspiring Effective Resolutions, to co-locate staff from six banks, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Government Technology Agency within the ASC premises, to enhance real-time coordination and fund tracing.
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How can you benefit from the Anti-Scam Centre?

The ASC is not only a crime-fighting unit, but also a resource centre for the public. You can benefit from the ASC in the following ways:

  • If you suspect that you have been scammed, you can call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg to report the incident and seek assistance.
  • If you want to learn more about the latest scam trends and prevention tips, you can follow the SPF’s social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or subscribe to the NCPC’s Scam Alert newsletter.
  • If you want to protect yourself from scam calls and messages, you can download the ScamShield app from the App Store or Google Play Store and enable the features to block unknown callers and filter scam SMSes.
  • If you want to educate yourself and your loved ones on how to spot and avoid scams, you can access the online learning modules and videos on the SPF’s e-learning portal, or attend the NCPC’s scam awareness talks and roadshows.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the ASC and scams:

Q: How do I know if an SMS, phone call, or email is a scam?

A: There are some tell-tale signs that an SMS, phone call, or email is a scam, such as:

  • The sender or caller claims to be from a reputable organisation, such as the government, the police, the bank, or a courier company, but uses a personal or foreign number, or a spoofed local number.
  • The sender or caller asks you to verify your personal information, such as your name, NRIC, bank account, or Singpass details, or to click on a link or attachment.
  • The sender or caller offers you an attractive deal, prize, or refund, but asks you to make an upfront payment, transfer money to an unknown account, or purchase gift cards or vouchers.
  • The sender or caller pressures you to act urgently, threatens you with legal consequences, or uses emotional manipulation.
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If you encounter any of these signs, you should ignore the SMS, phone call, or email, and report it to the ASC or the relevant organisation. Do not disclose your personal information, make any payment, or follow any instructions.

Q: What should I do if I have been scammed?

A: If you have been scammed, you should take the following steps as soon as possible:

Q: How can I prevent myself and my loved ones from falling victim to scams?

A: The best way to prevent yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to scams is to be vigilant and informed. You can do the following to protect yourself and your loved ones:

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Conclusion

Scams are a serious threat to your personal and financial security. But you don’t have to face them alone. The ASC is here to help you avoid fraudsters and recover your losses. Remember, the ASC is only a phone call or a click away. Together, we can make Singapore a safer place for everyone.

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