Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the Police’s plan to reduce online scams; and (b) how is the Police cooperating with IDA to spread the awareness of online scams.
Ms Irene Ng Phek Hoong: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (a) how can the Ministry encourage victims of online credit card fraud, unauthorised access to email accounts, phishing scams and identity thefts to report such crimes; (b) whether the Ministry will set up a national fraud reporting and Internet crime reporting centre; and (c) whether efforts can be stepped up to raise the awareness on how individuals and businesses can protect themselves against cybercrime.
Oral reply by Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs:
Madam Speaker, with your permission, I will address the two questions from Mr Ang and Ms Ng together.
2. For the six-month period between January and June 2014, there were 787 reported online cheating and cyber extortion cases. In the same period in 2013, there were 187 such cases. The rise in the number of police reports could be partly due to greater public awareness and willingness to report such crimes.
3. A key strategy to reduce the number of online crimes is to raise public awareness and vigilance. To this end, the Police have worked with the community and key stakeholders to increase public education of online crimes through mainstream and social media. For example, Police have highlighted cases of online purchase and identity theft scams in the recent episodes of CrimeWatch this year. The Police and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) have jointly developed public education collaterals pertaining to online crimes for display on bus stop panels, at MRT stations and over the Internet, including online forums and shopping sites. Police are also working with major financial institutions to feature crime prevention advisories on their internet banking websites by end-2014.
4. Members of the public are encouraged to contact the Police immediately should they become victims of any crime, be it online or otherwise. This can be done through existing crime reporting channels such as the Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPCs) and Neighbourhood Police Posts (NPPs), as well as Police’s online reporting portal.
Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Online Scam