Stop Scams Podcast: Near impossible to recover money once scammers transfer it out of Singapore

This message, sent via SMS from a fake number, has resulted in at least 18 victims in Singapore falling prey to the scam over the month of January. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
(From right to left) The first episode of the new Stop Scams podcast series features ST’s journalist Wong Shiying, podcast producer Hadyu Rahim, deputy news editor Andre Yeo, court correspondent David Sun and journalist Jessie Lim. ST PHOTO: ERNEST LUIS

Synopsis: This is a new podcast by The Straits Times to raise greater public awareness of the modern scourge of scams in Singapore and globally.

It is now February 2022. In Singapore alone, nearly $1 billion has been lost by scam victims since 2016. Mutating and spreading, different types of scams have infiltrated every aspect of our lives, from love to work. The police are cracking down on offenders. What can you do to protect yourself?

In this episode, deputy news editor Andre Yeo hosts fellow journalists David Sun, Jessie Lim and Wong Shiying as they share their biggest behind-the-scenes revelations for the articles they have covered on scam tactics so far.

Highlights (click/tap above):

01:10 David Sun on what sets scams apart from other types of crimes; victims' complacency, lack of self-awareness

03:03 Should the public feel sorry for victims of scams despite amount of anti-scam publicity?

05:42 Wong Shiying on the common thread among the eight scam victims she interviewed over four months; victims mentally scarred into extreme distrust

08:54 Jessie Lim on how intelligent today's scammers really are, and how they even cultivate victims over months

11:30 Why it's almost impossible to get back your money once it's transferred out of Singapore

13:15 Singapore Police Force's Anti-Scam Centre has added robotic process automation to its arsenal, with the technology driving Project Combat (Centralised Operational Messaging Bot, Addressing Threats)

23:00 How else are victims affected by scams: The mental toll and opening up to seek help

ST's Stop Scams articles:

• Anti-Scam Hotline: 1800-722-6688 (9am - 5pm);

• National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am - 12am);

Produced by: Andre Yeo (, David Sun (, Jessie Lim (, Wong Shiying (, Ernest Luis and Hadyu Rahim

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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