What to Do If You Fall Victim to a Financial Scam in Singapore



Singapore is highly regarded for being a place with one of the lowest crime rates all over the world, thanks to its strict laws and penalty system. 


However, in recent years, there is a type of offence that has caught both citizens and authorities unaware, and that is online scams.

 

With the advent and eventual prevalence of personal computers and smartphones, unscrupulous individuals have also found new ways of carrying out their criminal activities through these devices and the platforms the use or support. Cyberspace is now their arena in tricking people into parting with their hard-earned money.

 


One of the most common financial scams these days is called phishing. This involves using digital modes of communication to fool individuals into sharing their personal details, which may be used, in turn, to impersonate them online and gain access into their bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial resources.

Phishing is usually carried out through e-mail or text messages, where what seems to be a legitimate link from a financial institution or government authority leads to a fake website that was put up specifically for the purpose of gathering one’s personal information.    

 

However, phishing can also come in the form of a phone call impersonating a bank or government official, and asking a person to divulge sensitive information such as personal identification numbers or passwords. These are just some of the most dreadful phone scams Singapore citizens and residents must be aware of.

 


Another way that innocent individuals may be tricked of their money is through defective, counterfeit, or undelivered items bought from dishonest merchants on social media or e-commerce apps. While such instances do occur unintentionally every once in a while, a scammer would be more systematic and deliberate in their intention not to make good on their promised transactions.

 

The good news is that falling prey to these financial scams need not be necessary. With proper awareness and education, Singaporeans can keep themselves safe from these criminal activities. However, in the unfortunate event that you do become a victim of phishing or any other type of financial scam, there are steps that you should take to mitigate the situation:

 

Report the Matter to the Authorities

Singaporeans may be glad to know that the Singapore Police Force, in cooperation with the National Crime Prevention Council, has recognised the emergence and spread of cybercrimes, and thus, has launched a dedicated hotline for scam victims to immediately report their predicament. All you need to do is call 1-800-722-6688 in order to seek help and from authorities, who will then assist you in devising a strategic plan of action to potentially recover your money and to bring the perpetrator to justice.


Alert Family and Friends

Since most online financial scams involve identity or personal information theft, criminals usually take advantage of the wealth of information regarding your personal network by targeting them as additional potential victims for their ploy. It would be wise to communicate with your family members, friends, as well as co-workers or employer, and to alert them of possible attempts to compromise their online or personal data security. Ask them not to entertain any queries or requests for money from what may seem as your mobile phone number, e-mail address, or social media account.


File the Necessary Complaints

There is recourse you can take in the event that you fall prey to a financial scam. There are a number of government offices and agencies where you can file appropriate reports and to possibly claim damages from the perpetrators of these online crimes. Apart from filing a report with the police, you may also file what is called a Magistrate’s Complaint, especially in cases of e-commerce fraud. You can also attempt to recover your money through the Small Claims Tribunals. Finally, may also help to report the criminal activity to your Internet service provider, as well as to the online property or platform that was used by the cybercriminal to carry out the crime.

 

Learn Your Lesson and Be More Careful


It is normal to feel embarrassed, depressed, and traumatised after being victimised by financial scammers. It might help to overcome such negative emotions by looking at the situation as an opportunity to educate others and to prevent the same thing from happening to them. Also, try to look at the loss as a valuable lesson in terms of being more vigilant about your personal information and taking data security more seriously. It may be a reminder for you to be more mindful in your day to day activities and to be more critical of all the messages that you receive on digital channels of communication.

 

Battling cybercrime may seem difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. Just as Singapore authorities had been able to mitigate physical criminal activities with the cooperation and discipline of the citizenry, so can online scams be defeated with proactive measures on your part. Wise up, learn more, and warn others about these potential scams that might place them in grave danger.   

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