Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 23 February 2023

Written reply to Parliamentary Question on due diligence by banks to prevent mule accounts for scams

Date: For Parliament Sitting on 23 February 2023

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Christopher de Souza, MP, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC


To ask the Prime Minister how does MAS ensure that banks do their due diligence and investigate and interview new clients who wish to open accounts so as to prevent mule accounts for scams.

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

1. MAS requires all banks operating in Singapore to put in place robust controls to detect and deter the flow of illicit funds, including the use of mule accounts for scam activities. These controls include rigorous processes to identify customers, understand the intended purpose of account opening, evaluate the risks posed, and monitor the accounts on an ongoing basis for suspicious activity.

2. Given the rise in the number and severity of scams in recent years, MAS and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) have worked with banks to incorporate an advisory to applicants at account opening. The advisory warns applicants that bank accounts should only be for their own use and that they may be facilitating criminal activities if they allow others to operate their accounts.

3. MAS has encouraged banks to use data analytics to improve their ability to detect mule activities, and has promoted the sharing of emerging mule typologies across the industry. These efforts have led to greater industry awareness and action, and contributed to credible intelligence being shared with law enforcement agencies for their investigations. For example, a collaboration in July 2022 between the SPF’s Commercial Affairs Department and a bank led to the detection and investigation of 26 persons who allowed their bank accounts or Singpass credentials to be misused for illicit purposes.

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