As the number of online shoppers grows, so has the number of e-commerce scams, which rose by 11.4 per cent to 2,125 cases last year, up from 1,907 in 2017.
To combat this, the Singapore Police Force set up the E-commerce Fraud Enforcement and Coordination Team (E-FECT) in November last year. Within two months of its formation, the team had arrested 26 e-commerce scammers and solved more than 230 e-commerce scams.
Yesterday, the seven-member team received the Team Commendation Award from Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck. The award recognises the team's consistent outstanding work in its first two months of operation.
To the team, winning the award is only a milestone, not its endpoint, said Assistant Superintendent of Police Esh Jegadeeshwaran Wadarajan, 33, a member of E-FECT.
"When we receive an award for achieving something, it gives us a sense of joy... and we feel motivated to work even harder," he said.
Noting that suspects in e-commerce scams are more elusive and harder to nab, he urged shoppers to be wary when making online purchases, especially from unverified or poorly reviewed sellers.
Another award winner was Staff Sergeant Mohamad Khairul Aidil Mohd, 29, who received the High Commendation Award for going beyond the call of duty to stop a crime on Oct 28 last year.
Staff Sgt Khairul, who was off-duty at the time, spotted and successfully arrested a man who had been stealing copper wires. He said that as a police officer, he is always on the alert, even when off duty.
While receiving the award gave him a sense of accomplishment, Staff Sgt Khairul said his focus remains on "helping others and making sure that justice is served".
In all, 50 individual, 40 team and seven high commendation awards were given out yesterday at the Commissioner of Police's Commendation Ceremony.