Sun Xueling fights the long fight against scams


Scams are a $661 million problem for Singaporeans of all ages in this digital era. The latest escalations? Fake buyers for used household items and equally fake concert ticket resellers swindling music fans online

These add to those suspicious/ too-good-to-be-true/ too-urgent-to-verify texts and calls which you get occasionally. You know the ones: Those which promise you $1000-a-day jobs, or  “helpfully” tell you to pay non-existent fines, or that your loved one needs immediate aid now, now, now — just tell whoever (or whatever) is on the other end of the line your personal PIN number and credit card details so they will scam you out of all your money. 

Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling, who also chairs the Inter-ministry Committee on Scams, is here to help Singaporeans fight these scammers.  

“We are going to work with you, and leverage on your strength, and hope that through your outreach, you can join us in this fight against scams,” she said earlier this year (Oct 6), rallying expert online content creators at the second Workshop for YouTube Creators for Impact (Scams) hosted by Google. 

Fighting scams actively for the long haul

This alliance is a timely step. Online content creators have reach. Plus, their videos and reels are relevant and interesting for Singaporeans.   

“We want to make it quite simple for our audiences, so we can have different ways of sharing experiences, sharing stories, sharing typologies. But I think at the end of the day, Singaporeans and fellow citizens would want to know: What can I do, to protect myself against scams?,” detailed MOS Sun. 

To help this, police representatives from MOS Sun’s Ministry have shared with these creators the various scam archetypes out there. This is for better anti-scam content down the line — especially for spurring local awareness of online dangers new and old as well as action against them. 

It will all be in a targeted, tailored manner too. As MOS Sun points out, we do want to make it simple for Singaporeans to get protected.    

Source: Sun Xueling / Facebook 

MOS Sun also goes around Singapore championing campaigns like A-C-T: Add ScamShield and other security updates, Check to verify the authenticity of a job offer or aid request and Tell about scam encounters through ScamShield. With Tell, in fact, you actually assist in blocking scams from other Singaporeans.  

All this working together — from creators, the Singaporean community and industry — is needed. Like MOS Sun shared previously, tackling scams will be a “long fight”.  

The Online Criminal Harms Bill and our other efforts

We are preparing the nation for the long haul during this long fight.  

Most recently, we passed the Online Criminal Harms Bill in Parliament in the middle of this year (Jul 5). Now, online service providers must take down suspicious accounts and content even before these interact with users. Codes of Practice for preventing and answering online harms have also been set up for online service providers to follow; these Codes will be regularly updated for new and inevitable threats.  

“We are also working with various government agencies — GovTech, SNDGO, IMDA, CSA, our banks, our telcos — and we have announced a whole suite of measures,” detailed MOS Sun around that time (Jul 7). 

“At the Anti-Scam Command, we have several co-located banks to facilitate swift fund tracing and freezing of scam-tainted bank accounts,” she added. 

Source: French Embassy in Singapore / Facebook 

MOS Sun also spoke (June 13) at the Regional Anti-Scam Conference, where top police investigators from ASEAN, the United Kingdom and the United States gathered to learn how best to counter scams. 

All these responses are born from long-term efforts and much co-operation then, to disrupt scams (and other dirty deeds). As noted previously, we continually clean up cyberspace for Singaporeans.