Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 20 October 2022

Reply to Parliamentary Question on money lost by migrant workers to scams and inclusion of migrant workers in MAS' framework for equitable sharing of losses





Date: For Parliament Sitting on 20 October 2022

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Miss Rachel Ong, MP, West Coast GRC


To ask the Prime Minister (a) in each of the past three years, what is the total amount of money lost by migrant workers to scams; (b) whether the MAS framework for equitable sharing of losses arising from scams includes migrant workers; and (c) whether special consideration will be made for migrant workers in the compensation of losses, given their vulnerability to scammers claiming to be from Government authorities.

Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

1. The total amount of money reported lost by migrant workers to scams was S$4.5m in 2019, S$10.4m in 2020, and S$24.9m in 2021. The top two scam types involving them were phishing scams and job scams.

2. The Government is taking action on multiple fronts to disrupt scammers’ operations, strengthen enforcement against perpetrators, and increase public education. It has been stepping up public education and engagement efforts to raise awareness of scams among the migrant worker community.

(a) The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regularly provides anti-scam advisories and resources to migrant workers in their native languages. For example, as part of the Settling-In-Programme, migrant workers are taught how to avoid falling prey to scams and to not share their personal information or bank account credentials with anyone.  MOM has, on an ongoing basis since July 2022, been running a social media campaign on scam prevention targeted at migrant workers. This has also been disseminated to migrant workers through NGOs and community partners.

(b) The Singapore Police Force (SPF) works closely with MOM and NGOs to disseminate the latest scam modus operandi within the relevant anti-scam advisories, and to conduct outreach events. 

3. MAS is working with other government agencies to design a framework for shared responsibility amongst relevant parties when a scam occurs, and one which incentivises each party to be vigilant against scams. The framework will apply to customers of financial institutionsSpecifically, the framework applies to banks, non-bank credit card issuers, finance companies and major payment institutions..