Scammers Welcome WP Jamus Lim’s Proposal for Banks to Absorb Losses from Scams

An ex-scammer that Fathership spoke to gave his nod of approval to the idea that scam victims should not have to bear more than S$100 to S$500 in losses, with banks and telcos bearing the rest of the costs instead, a concept suggested by Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) Jamus Lim in Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 10).

While this proposal aims to alleviate the financial burden on individuals who fall prey to scams, it also inadvertently resonates with the scamming community.

New fertile ground for scammers?

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the ex-scammer revealed a concerning perspective. The policy, while intended to protect consumers, might inadvertently create a more fertile ground for scams. The rationale is straightforward: if potential victims feel insulated from significant financial harm, their vigilance might wane, thereby presenting scammers with easier targets.

Another scammer that Fathership spoke to – and who is currently an active player in Singapore and Malaysia – added that such a shift in liability could lead to increased consumer risk-taking, further exacerbating vulnerabilities.

To counter the complacency, Prof Lim proposes a minimal co-payment approach, where victims bear a small portion of the loss. This amount could be set at S$100 or S$500, he added.

Prof Lim argues that if banks bear a larger share of the losses, they will be more diligent in policing such activities. This could lead to more aggressive actions in tracking suspicious transactions and preventing the authorization of purchases with stolen funds.

Ex-scammer considering another shot at scamming

Prof Lim suggestion has given the ex-scammer hope, making him believe that he has been given a second shot at the trade.

After all, Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world. But despite its technological advancements, there’s a common belief that Singaporeans, though mostly affluent, tend to be naive.

Banking-related fraud is pervasive in Singapore. In 2020, there were 893 reported cases of banking-related phishing activities, costing victims at least $3.3 million.And in the first half of 2021—excluding the $13.7 million loss from the OCBC episode —already 535 cases were reported, tallying at least $2.1 million. The number of scam cases have steadily risen, and this trend is unlikely to retreat.

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