Reply to Parliamentary Question on progress on framework for equitable sharing of losses between scam victims and financial institutions
QUESTION NO 3458
NOTICE PAPER 1387 OF 2022
FOR ORAL ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 05 October 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Saktiandi Supaat, MP, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the Government can provide updates on (i) the progress of the framework for the equitable sharing of losses suffered by scam victims and (ii) the work of the Payments Council in reviewing the practices that the financial industry can put in place to better protect consumers from scams; and (b) what are current and upcoming efforts of Project Frontier and the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams on combating scams.
Answer by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Board member of MAS, on behalf of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. MAS is working with the industry to finalise a framework for the equitable sharing of losses resulting from scams. The Payments Council proposed in May this year a draft set of responsibilities relevant to financial institutions and consumers. MAS is finalising the framework, in coordination with other government agencies. It is taking us longer than expected to design a fair and effective framework that ensures shared responsibility across the ecosystem and incentives for each party to be vigilant against scams. MAS aims to seek public comments on the framework as soon as possible.
2. At the broader level, the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS), chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs, also partners with the financial institutions closely. This includes Project FRONTIER, as mentioned by the Member, where the Police have established processes with financial institutions to swiftly freeze bank accounts suspected of being used in scams, in order to mitigate victims’ losses and disrupt scammers’ operations. From January to June 2022, the Police froze more than 7,800 accounts and recovered more than S$80 million of scam proceeds.
3. The IMCS has also strengthened enforcement against perpetrators. Since the formation of the Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scam Command in March this year, more than 4,300 scammers and money mules who were involved in more than 12,000 scam cases involving S$101 million were either arrested or called up for investigation.
4. Other than enforcement actions, the IMCS has expanded its public education campaign, called ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes.’, to build public awareness and vigilance on how to spot scams. For instance, it has shared materials advising the public to not share personal details such as log-in credentials and one-time-passwords with unverified parties. IMCS will continue to work with all stakeholders to deepen its public outreach.