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by August 28, 2017 Industry

SINGAPORE– Despite a slight dip in the crime rate in the first six months of the year, the number of Internet scams went up significantly, Singapore police said on Monday (Aug 28).

There were 349 cases of online love scams in the first half of the year, up 26 per cent from 277 cases in the same period last year, police said in a report of mid-year crime figures.

The amount cheated from January to June nearly doubled to S$22.1 million from S$11.2 million in 2016. The largest amount cheated in a single case this year was close to S$6 million, police added.

“Love scams have been on the rise year on year and they remain a great cause of concern,” police said.

Many people are still trusting and transferring money to strangers whom they have befriended online, in the quest to find love.

There was also a 29 per cent increase in the number of email impersonation scams. There were 160 cases up to June this year, up from 124 in the first half of last year.

These scams affect companies that deal with other companies on email with regard to transactions and fund transfers.

The victims usually do not realise that the email account of the company that they have been liaising with had been hacked or spoofed, and will proceed to transfer money to the bank account provided by the scammers, police said.

The total amount cheated in these cases was S$21.9 million, up 25.9 per cent or S$17.4 million from the same period last year. Close to S$4 million was the largest amount swindled in a single case.

E-commerce scams have decreased by 10.5 per cent, but remain a concern due to the large number of cases reported, police said. There were 900 cases in the first half of 2017, down from 1,006 cases in the same period last year.

The total amount cheated, S$691,700, had decreased by 21.5 per cent from S$881,400. The largest amount cheated in a single case for the first half of this year was S$60,700.

Police said that online crimes are particularly challenging to solve due to the borderless nature of the Internet.

A significant proportion of online commercial crimes are committed remotely by foreign syndicates that will continue to find ways to exploit and prey on the vulnerabilities of potential victims,” police said.

Authorities will continue to focus on educating people not to fall prey to online scammers.

Besides online crime, outrage of modesty cases also saw a bump, with cases at night spots and on public transport key concerns, police said.

Outrage of modesty cases increased by 9.5 per cent, to 717 cases in the first half of 2017, from 655 cases in the same period last year. There were 52 cases at entertainment night spots, an increase of 18.2 per cent from 44 cases.

The number of cases on public transport remains high, police said. There were 70 cases in the first half of the year and 71 cases reported in the same period last year.

The police will continue to take a tough stance on outrage of modesty cases. We urge all members of the public to be vigilant and to report incidents to the authorities as soon as possible, it said.


Overall crime went down slightly by 0.5 per cent. There were 16,375 cases in the first six months of 2017, down from 16,452 cases in the same period last year.

Theft and related crimes dipped slightly, with a significant decrease in theft from persons and vehicle-related thefts.

From 7,011 in the first half of 2016, theft cases fell by 2.6 per cent to 6,831 cases in the first half of this year.

Theft from persons decreased by 14 per cent, to 387 cases from 450 cases. Theft from motor vehicles fell by 18.9 per cent, to 365 cases from 450 cases, while motor vehicle theft fell by 9.5 per cent, to 67 cases from 74 cases. Theft of vehicle parts fell by a third to 22 cases from 32 cases.

More than 7,000 residents across Singapore have been participating in a Vehicle on Watch initiative which has improved safety in the neighbourhood, said police. This was one possible factor leading to the slide in vehicle-related crime.

Dashboard cameras have also provided strong deterrence and provided leads to aid police investigations, police said.

Housebreaking cases were down 21.5 per cent to 84 cases. There were 107 cases in the first six months of 2016.