Cross-border collaboration key in taking on international scams


Singapore minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling has proposed the establishment of Anti-Scam Commands in different countries to tackle scams.

These outfits would aim to combat transnational scam syndicates and recover proceeds transferred across borders, a task that becomes increasingly challenging once the funds cross national borders. Singapore instituted its own Anti-Scam Command in 2022.

The proposed Anti-Scam Commands would collaborate internationally, sharing information, and coordinating the tracing of funds and freezing of scam-related bank accounts. The aim is to make it as difficult as possible for scammers to carry out scams, denying them the opportunity to launder their proceeds and perpetuate their operations.

The Regional Anti-Scam Conference 2023 was organised by the Singapore Police Force in partnership with the International Security Cooperation Directorate of the French Embassy in Singapore. Representatives from at least 15 countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, France, Australia, and the United States, attended the event.

The financial impact of scams is substantial. In 2022, there were over 31,000 reported cases in Singapore, resulting in victims losing more than $660.7m. Globally, around $74.2bn was lost in 2021.

Sun Xueling emphasised the need for collaboration between governments and international counterparts to maximise impact against the challenge. She also suggested the establishment of international norms, including baseline standards for stakeholders like telecommunications companies, online platforms, and financial institutions, to effectively combat them.

Scammers are adopting new technologies like AI and deepfakes, which heightens the need for law enforcement agencies to work with research institutes, relevant government agencies, and market players to counter these threats.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling said, “If, however, every country has the equivalent of an anti-scam command outfit, whereby prompt intervention efforts can be taken to quickly trace the flow of incoming scam proceeds, and swiftly freeze the bank accounts of the scammers, then our collective efforts to recovering the scam proceeds will be greatly enhanced.”

She further stated, “By freezing these bank accounts, we are depriving the scammers of the opportunity to utilise these scam proceeds to launder them, to have them circulated in the system, to continue for them to multiply their operations.”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has recently announced the commencement of the 8th Global FinTech Hackcelerator.

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