UK Officials Visit Singapore To Learn Practices To Tackle Scams

UK Officials Visit Singapore To Learn Practices To Tackle Scams

connectedtoindia.comUpdated: Monday, May 13, 2024, 04:49 PM IST
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The UK Home Affairs Select Committee met Sun Xueling, Minister of State (MOS), Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development (4th from the left on first row), during their visit to the Ministry of Home Affairs on 9 May 2024. The UK delegation was led by Dame Diana Johnson, who is the Chair of the Committee (3rd from left on first row). Photo courtesy: MHA |

Members of the United Kingdom’s Home Affairs Select Committee, who are current Members of Parliament, visited the Ministry of Home Affairs on 9 May as part of their ongoing inquiry into fraud, an official news release stated.

Simon Fell MP, who is the UK Prime Minister’s Anti-Fraud Champion, was also part of the delegation. The Committee wanted to learn about Singapore’s approach and response to scams, including prevention, detection, and prosecution. Singapore is the only country that the Committee visited as part of the inquiry.

During the visit, the Committee called on Sun Xueling, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development, who explained how the government works with private sector stakeholders to effectively combat existing and emerging forms of fraud and scams.

The delegates also visited the Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scam Command (ASCom) to learn about its work and capabilities. The ASCom is an operational set-up with bank staff and law enforcement officers who are co-located and work together to trace scam proceeds and freeze scam-tainted bank accounts promptly.

In 2023, the ASCom froze more than 19,600 bank accounts based on reports referred to the Anti-Scam Centre and recovered more than SGD 100 million. In terms of scam prevention, the ASCom successfully conducted more than 590 proactive interventions, averting more than SGD 44 million of potential losses for potential scam victims in 2023.

MOS Sun, who is Chairperson of Singapore’s Inter-Ministerial Committee on Scams said, “Scams and cyber-enabled fraud are key priorities for both Singapore and the UK. Singapore is delighted to host the UK’s Home Affairs Select Committee, and to share our strategy to tackle scams. We had fruitful discussions with the Select Committee on our best practices, as well as potential areas of collaboration between our two countries. We look forward to strengthening bilateral cooperation with the UK on scams and other cybercrime. Given the transnational nature of scams, we will continue to strengthen collaboration with other international counterparts, such as through facilitating the transnational recovery of scam proceeds and galvanising industry stakeholders.”

Fraud continues to have an impact on our lives, and our inquiry has heard about the ways fraud is being detected and prevented in England and Wales. A key area of focus for the inquiry includes understanding what other countries are achieving in terms of detection, prevention, and prosecution of fraud. In our evidence sessions, Singapore has repeatedly been mentioned to us as one of the top countries in relation to its response to fraud, as well as its public awareness communication. Our visit to Singapore has been incredibly insightful, as we heard from the Ministry of Home Affairs on what the country is doing to combat fraud. We were particularly interested to visit the Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scam Command, which was a great opportunity to understand how the Singaporean Government, law enforcement and the private sector are actively working together to deal with fraud crimes. There are important lessons to be learnt from Singapore’s response to fraud, and we expect our visit will help inform and shape our recommendations as part of the inquiry.– Dame Diana Johnson, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Besides the Ministry of Home Affairs, the committee also visited other anti-scam stakeholders such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, as well as banks, telecommunications companies (telcos), and e-commerce platforms.

Members of the UK Select Committee visited the Singapore Police’s Force Anti-Scam Command as part of the visit. Photo courtesy: MHA

Members of the UK Select Committee visited the Singapore Police’s Force Anti-Scam Command as part of the visit. Photo courtesy: MHA |

Singapore has also been actively involved in international platforms to call for greater collaboration in the global fight against scams and fraud. In March 2024, the city-state endorsed a joint communiqué with 10 other countries to signal a high-level commitment to tackle scams at the Global Fraud Summit.

During the Summit, Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information & Second Minister for Home Affairs shared Singapore’s anti-scam measures and called for industry partners to strengthen their anti-scam efforts.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected To India)

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