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Majority of job scam victims are young adults, not seniors: Desmond Tan

SINGAPORE — Around 70 per cent of the victims of job scams reported between 2019 and 2021 were younger adults aged between 20 and 39, Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said on Thursday (March 3).

Majority of job scam victims are young adults, not seniors: Desmond Tan

A total of 4,722 job scam cases were reported between 2019 and 2021, out of which around 70 per cent involved those aged between 20 and 39.

SINGAPORE — Around 70 per cent of the victims of job scams reported between 2019 and 2021 were younger adults aged between 20 and 39, Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said on Thursday (March 3).

Responding in Parliament to a question filed by Mr Yip Hon Weng, Member of Parliament for Yio Chu Kang, Mr Tan said that during that period, a total of 4,722 job scam cases were reported. Of these, about 2 per cent of the victims were aged 60 and above — far less than the proportion of younger adults scammed. 

“This is not surprising, given that this (younger) group is more likely to be searching for jobs and are also more willing to try online or remote work,” Mr Tan said.

Such scams work by targeting the victims’ interest in easy work-from-home settings, such as to generate “hype” on e-commerce platforms or on social media, he added.

Many scammers have also created professional mobile applications with reference to such listings and social media posts to make them seem more legitimate.

Victims will be asked to download these apps, transfer money to open accounts, and buy items or click on posts to generate views, with the promise that they will receive commissions.

Victims will realise that they have been duped when they do not receive their commissions or are unable to withdraw their money.

Mr Tan said that to address this scourge and prevent people from falling prey to such scams, public education is key. Enforcement efforts by the authorities have also been stepped up as well. 

For example, between September and November last year, the police conducted three islandwide anti-scam enforcement operations targeting money mules linked to job scams, leading to the arrest of 135 people and investigations of 141 others. 

“Given the transnational nature of job scams, the police have also stepped up collaboration with foreign law enforcement agencies,” he added, noting that the Singapore Police Force worked with the police from Malaysia last December to dismantle scam syndicates that targeted Singaporeans through these scams.

That month, a total of 15 people were arrested — eight in Malaysia and seven in Singapore. 

“The best defence against scams is a discerning public. When looking for jobs, members of the public should always exercise healthy scepticism and verify the legitimacy of the job offer. They should also refrain from making any advance payment to secure a job,” Mr Tan stressed.

Related topics

Scam Jobs job scam MHA seniors

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