Steps to Ensure that The Anti-Scam Division of the Commercial Affairs Department is Sufficiently Resourced

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As everyone knows, our Police Force is working overtime in dealing with online and phone scams which have caused Singaporean victims to bear huge losses. I was concerned about the issue of resourcing. I asked what steps the Ministry of Home Affairs will take to ensure that the Anti-Scam Division of the Commercial Affairs Department is adequately resourced. My question and the reply from Minister of State, Mr Desmond Tan are set out below.

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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Home Affairs what steps are taken to ensure that the Anti-Scam Division of the Commercial Affairs Department is sufficiently resourced to deal with the scourge of scams.

Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Desmond Tan

…Mr Murali Pillai and Mr Ang Wei Neng asked if SPF is sufficiently resourced to combat scams. Police are extremely stretched. Our officers have been trying to cope with increasing workload and expectations, without proportionate increase in manpower. We will need to review this untenable situation.

Nevertheless, with whatever resources we have, we have re-organised ourselves for greater efficiency and effectiveness. For example, SPF set up the Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) in 2019 as a specialised unit focused on anti-scam interventions and enforcement.

In 2021, the ASC conducted 26 island-wide anti-scam operations, which resulted in the arrest of around 7,500 money mules and scammers.

The ASC also partners private sector stakeholders to disrupt scammers’ operations. For example, it has worked with telecommunication companies to terminate scam-tainted phone lines, and with online marketplaces to remove suspicious online monikers and advertisements.

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Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.