Scam victims likely to fall for them again: Survey

Lightning could strike the same place twice for scam victims, as a survey has found that they are likely to fall prey to them again.

Forty-five per cent of respondents who fell for a scam said they were scammed more than once, a survey by the Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre (HTBSC) revealed yesterday.

The online survey last August and September polled 4,043 people, comprising Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

Six in 10 said they had encountered scams in Singapore an average of 3.17 times a month.

Seven per cent - or 283 respondents - said they had fallen prey to scams. Of these, nearly half are youth and working adults aged from 20 to 39.

Ms Whistine Chai, assistant director of the crime, investigation and forensic psychology branch at HTBSC, said: "Youths are more tech savvy and they spend a lot of time online...

"They might engage in activities such as online banking or going through social media that increases their exposure to scammers.

"We also found that youths are more impulsive and complacent. They (tend) not to stop and think, or check with others before acting."

In their annual crime brief last week, the police said the record number of scams reported last year pushed the overall crime rate to its highest since 2009.

There were 15,756 reported scams last year, a huge 65.1 per cent jump from the 9,545 cases in 2019. They made up 42.1 per cent of overall crime last year, up from 27.2 per cent in 2019.

The survey found that the majority of scam victims have poor online hygiene practices, as they tend to click on pop-up advertisements on websites or open e-mails from unknown sources.

Even though over 80 per cent of victims had seen anti-scam public campaigns before, many of them still had a poor understanding of what safe online practices entail.

For instance, 49 per cent of scam victims wrongly believed the authorities will send them SMS or e-mails with links to click on to verify their information.

This article was first published in The Straits Times