Why most people in Singapore don’t report scam messages

Woman looking at her phone, person in hoodie posing as scammer, face unrevealed, looking at laptop

Among the actions taken after receiving a fraudulent message, 72 percent said they simply tend to block the senders. (Photo/s: Getty Images)

Of more than half of Singaporeans who receive fraudulent messages, more than two in three do not report the incident, and most think they will never fall victim to scammers.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of scam victims are also no more likely to report the scam to authorities or to the platform.

These were some of the findings of a study commissioned by messaging platform WhatsApp and conducted by global market research agency 2CV Singapore in September.

According to the study, which involved 500 Singaporeans and permanent residents, 64 percent of respondents over the age of 18 do not report fraudulent messages to the Singapore Police or to the messaging platform where they received the fraudulent message.

Among actions taken after receiving a fraudulent message, 72 percent said they simply tend to block senders.

Another common action taken by 71 percent of respondents was to simply delete the messages, while 52 percent tended to ignore the scam. Only 36 percent inform the platform or the authorities.

Why don’t people report scams?

According to the findings published on Monday (November 21), those who do not report scam messages cite a lack of concern as their reason, because they think they will never fall for scammers’ tactics. Another common reason for not doing it was being “too busy”.

Meanwhile, some are unaware if there are in-app features to report the scam, while others are skeptical if these in-app features would be useful to them or others.

“It is important that the public report scam messages directly to the platforms. By doing so, they send relevant scam information that will be used to alert businesses and government agencies to take early preventative action against scammers,” Gerald Singham, President of the National Council for Crime Prevention, he said in a press release.

The survey also found that among the most prominent scams identified were investment scams, with 53 percent of respondents saying they received such messages.

This was followed by phishing scams, received by 50 percent of respondents, while 48 percent said they received job scams and 45 percent received delivery scams.

The Singapore Police advised the public in early 2022 to follow “crime prevention measures” if they come across fraudulent messages.

These include verifying the authenticity of information with your banks, never transferring funds to bank accounts of someone you don’t know, never divulging personal information, including credit and debit or OTP card details, and reporting fraudulent transactions as soon as possible.

Police also recently warned in November of a scam that tricked people into revealing their Instagram account details. These hacked Instagram accounts would sometimes be used later for other types of scams, such as investment scams.

Members of the public aware of such scams are encouraged to contact the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or file online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news writer who focuses on politics, economics, and democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for the latest news and updates.

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