SG committed to protecting citizens from scams

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) is set to implement the Shared Responsibility Framework (SRF) in the first half of 2024. This new framework aims to hold banks and telecommunications companies accountable for their role in protecting customers from the growing threat of phishing scams.

MCI said that under this framework, there will be “expedient recourse for victims if financial institutions and telecommunication operators are found to have failed to fulfil their anti-scam duties.”

In recent years, the Singapore government has taken several steps to mitigate the risk of online scams. In 2022, the Singapore Police Force established the Anti-Scam Command (ASCom), which has been instrumental in freezing over 9,000 bank accounts and recovering about $50.8 million in the first half of 2023 alone.

The government has also implemented a range of measures to combat scams such as blocking calls from known scam numbers starting in 2019 and spoofed local numbers in 2022. It has also been blocking robocalls based on pattern recognition since 2020 and SMSes containing malicious content and links since 2022.

To further enhance transaction security, since January 2022, facial verification has been required for high-risk transactions. This practice was extended to high-risk Central Provident Fund (CPF) e-services in June 2023.

Additionally, the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) has been operational since January 2023, requiring all alphanumeric SMS sender IDs to be registered, with unregistered IDs flagged as “Likely-SCAM.”

The government has also introduced tougher legal consequences for those allowing their Singpass accounts or bank accounts to be exploited by scammers, effective from May 2023. Furthermore, the Online Criminal Harms Act passed in July 2023 places ex-ante requirements on online platforms to ensure consumer protection. These collective efforts signify a solid approach towards safeguarding citizens.

More from OMY: MAS: collaborative framework by banks and telcos to substantially reduce phishing scam risks

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