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22 May 2023  (2202 Views) 
Government Technology Agency

Why are scammers active in Singapore?
I received several scam calls each week, sometimes several a day.

These calls were purported to come from ICA office, or from a bank, and asked me to press a button and talk to a person.

I ignored these calls, but they are disturbing. I often had to answer the calls, in case they were genuine calls and the message was important.

After some time, I would be ignoring all incoming calls, including genuine calls.

I suspect that the scam calls are happening more in Singapore, than elsewhere. I do not have the actual evidence to prove my suspicion, so this is just a hunch.

If I am right, the next question is - why is Singapore getting so many scam calls?

Here, I think that I know the answer.

It probably arose from a strategic mistake made by some security experts in the Ministry of Finance or the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

These experts stated that it is dangerous for business and government organizations to send e-mails to their customers, as the emails are not secure. They encouraged the practice for these organizations to store their replies or regular communications in their servers, and asked the customers to login to the websites to retrieve the replies.

It is not practical for the customers to be logging in to several dozen websites to retrieve their answers. They do not do so.

These organizations send emails to their customers to tell them that they have messages to be read. They provide the link to these websites.

The scammers found a loophole. They send fake messages from these organizations and a fake website to capture the login credentials.

This is the root of the problem, i.e. the practice for organizations to store their replies in their websites.

To solve the scams, we have to get rid of the root of the problem, namely to stop organizations from asking customers to get replies from their platforms. This is a bad practice and should be stopped.

Tan Kin Lian


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