Tap social media to spread word about scams

Scams committed over the phone and on social media - these include credit-for-sex scams, Internet love scams, kidnap hoax scams and lottery scams - have more than doubled in a year ("Scams on the rise in Singapore: What are some of them?"; ST Online, July 27).

There were 2,450 cases of such scams last year, compared with 1,015 the year before.

Many reasons contribute to why people "allow" themselves to get scammed in the first place.

However, the main driving factor is fear. Many Singaporeans have the mentality that it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Thus, when victims who have this mentality are driven into a corner by scammers, they would rather lose the money they have painstakingly earned than continue to feel the fear that the scammers have instilled in them.

What we can do to reduce the number of scam victims is facilitate the spread of news about new scams that appear.

Usually, by the time new scams are reported in the media, many people have already fallen victim to them. Social media is the key to letting people know about new scams. What we should do is to be vigilant about posts on new scams and share these with others.

With education, there is greater awareness, and scammers will not be able to create or instil fear in their targets. Also, Singaporeans could register their phone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry, to reduce their chances of receiving calls from scammers.

Vivian Koh Hong Rui (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2016, with the headline 'Tap social media to spread word about scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe