Protect Yourself - How to Spot and Avoid Scams

Top Scams of 2023 (1st Half)
Scenario: Job Scam
Scenario: Fake Friend Call Scam
Scenario: Investment Scam
Scenario: Malware Scam
Key Takeaways

This webinar was presented live on 7 November 2023 as part of Law Awareness Weeks @ CDC 2023.

Don’t become another victim of scams! Unsure on how to protect yourself from the ever-evolving world of scams and fraud? In today’s digital age, scams can lurk around every corner, targeting unsuspecting individuals with cunning tactics and sophisticated schemes. 

Join our moderator, Eunice Chua (Chief Executive Officer, FIDReC) and speakers, Yam Wern-Jhien (Director, Setia Law LLC), Nicholas Aaron Khoo (Council Member, National Crime Prevention Council) and Rosie Ann Mcintyre (Assistant Director, Public Education Programme, Scam Public Education Office, Operations Department, Singapore Police Force) as they aim to arm you with invaluable knowledge and practical strategies to identify, avoid, and combat scams effectively.

From phishing emails and fake websites to investment fraud and identity theft, they will explore the most prevalent scams and share with you on how to recognise red flags before it is too late. Also discover powerful techniques to safeguard your personal and financial information, understand the psychology behind scams, and learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your business from falling prey to deceptive practices.

  • Contact your bank immediately if your account or credit card has been compromised to prevent further losses.
  • File a police report online or in person; call 999 for urgent help.
  • Share scam information with the Police at 1800 255 0000
  • Notify all contacts and service providers if your account is compromised.
  • If you can still access your online account, change your passphrase and enable two/multi-factor authentication.
  • Report scams on social media or communication platforms, to both the Police and platform administrators.
  • Stay alert for repeated scam attempts, including those impersonating the Police or other government authorities.
  • Being a victim of scam can be distressing. Seek support from family and friends.

Flow chart provided by the Singapore Police Force and National Crime Prevention Council

The time taken to complete investigation for a scam-related case depends on several factors, such as the type of scam, how well the scammer covers his tracks and whether the monies have been transferred overseas.

If monies have been transferred overseas, which often is the case when it comes to scams that happened in Singapore, then the time taken is necessarily longer. In view of the factors highlighted, the time taken for each case will differ significantly.

The investigation officer (IO) in charge of your case will update you when there are significant developments to the case. We seek your understanding that every case is unique and the time taken to investigate each case differs.

If you have not heard from your IO in the last six months, you may wish to contact the IO during office hours from 8.30am to 6pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and 8.30am to 5.30pm on Fridays (excluding public holidays).

You can also call the respective division’s Investigation Branch Call Centre (IBCC). The contact number will be provided to you in an acknowledgement letter/email that was sent to you within seven working days after you reported your case. If urgent police attention is required, please call ‘999’.

A typical modus operandi by scam syndicates is to move scammed monies quickly between multiple bank accounts, including to overseas bank accounts.

If the money is transferred overseas, fund recovery can be challenging as different jurisdictions have different recovery process and legislation.

The chance of recovery once the funds have been transferred out of Singapore is very low, and it is likely that the money may no longer be recoverable.

Overseas accounts reside outside of Singapore’s jurisdiction and the Singapore Police Force will not be able to exercise any legal powers to freeze or seize the account or compel a foreign-based bank to reverse the transactions.

In such cases, the Police can only notify our foreign counterparts of the incident and seek their assistance to investigate the matter. It also depends on the laws of the foreign country and the internal business policies of the foreign banks involved.

The chance of recovery once the funds have been transferred out of Singapore is very low, and it is likely that the money may no longer be recoverable.

The Police will only be able to return any seized monies to victims upon the conclusion of investigations.

The amount of time it takes to complete investigations, and correspondingly, the amount of time it takes for seized monies to be returned to the victims, depends on many different factors and differs across the various types of scams.

For example, whether there are multiple claimants and whether the monies are still relevant for the purposes of investigation or court trial or other court proceedings.

Support from Victim Care Officer

If you require emotional support during the investigation and/or court process, inform your IO who will arrange for you to speak to a Victim Care Officer (VCO).

VCOs are volunteers who are trained in providing emotional and practical support to victims of crime as they undergo the criminal justice process.

Community Support

Should you require further support from the community, here are some possible avenues you may consider:

Mental Well-being

  • Samaritans of Singapore (24-hour hotline) - 1767
  • Institute of Mental Health Helpline (24-hour hotline) - 6389 2222
  • Singapore Association for Mental Health - 1800 283 7019


  • Counselling and Care Centre - 6535 6366
  • TOUCHline (Counselling) - 1800 377 2252
  • Care Corner Counselling Centre - 6353 1180
  • Care Corner Toll-Free Mandarin Counselling Hotline - 1800 3535 800