Bank accounts of suspected scammers can be frozen within a day: MHA

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Financial Services

Minister Desmond Tan lays out plans to prevent scams.

The bank accounts of suspected scammers can be "swiftly frozen within a day" once the police is notified, Minister Desmond Tan of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced.

“This is a big step forward from the 14 to 60 working days that these tasks used to take,” he said in a parliament speech on 1 March.

He added that the Association of Banks of Singapore, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the police have been working together to combat scammers and money mules.

As more people turn to e-commerce during the pandemic, Tan said the government is also working with popular platforms to prevent scams, including Carousell, Lazada, Shopee, Qoo10, and Amazon.

“Areas being explored are improving the seller verification, and increasing the use of more secured payment modes such as escrow accounts,” he added.

Latest MHA data showed that half of the victims of online scams in 2020 were between the ages of 20 and 39.

Tan also flagged the rise of loan scams.