Saturday, February 27, 2021

Singapore crime rate climbs to highest since 2009, thanks to scammers

The top 10 scam types included e-commerce scams, social media impersonation scams and loan scams.

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Singapore’s crime rate in 2020 climbed by 6.5% from the previous year, putting the city-state’s crime rate at its highest in more than a decade, according to official figures.

Numbers released by Singapore police showed there were 15,756 cases involving scammers which formed the bulk of total crimes – a 65% rise from 2019.

It said scammers took more than S$201 million from their victims last year.

“Among the top 10 scam types, e-commerce scams, social media impersonation scams, loan scams and banking related phishing scams are of particular concern, as they constituted 68.1% of the top 10 scam types reported in 2020,” the Singapore police force said in a statement.

It said banking-related scams have been on the rise, with criminals using platforms as IMO, Viber and WhatsApp to prey on victims.

“In the majority of these cases, victims were tricked into disclosing internet banking usernames, personal identification numbers (PIN) and OTPs to scammers posing as bank staff. The scammers would then access victims’ bank accounts or their bank card information and perform unauthorised transactions,” the statement by the police said.

However, it said Singapore remains one of the “safest cities in the world”.

“If scam cases were excluded, the total number of reported crimes in 2020 would have decreased by 15.3% to 21,653 from 25,570 in 2019,” the statement by the police added.

It said there was a drop in physical crimes such as snatch theft, robbery and housebreaking, with 201 days free of such incidents in 2020 compared to 178 days in 2019.

Theft and related crimes decreased by 33.1%, while housebreaking decreased by 24.9%, bringing both crime categories to a record low in more than three decades.

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