Malaysia, Singapore Join Forces to Combat Online Scams

Malaysia, Singapore to Cooperate on Digital Economy, Fighting Online Scams

Malaysia and Singapore have joined forces to exchange knowledge and best practices in a bid to tackle online scams better.

This was announced by Minister of Communications and Digital Fahmi Fadzil last Saturday, Feb. 4, during a bilateral meeting with Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo.

According to a report by the government news agency Bernama on the same day, Fadzil and Teo also planned to cooperate on utilising data as a commodity to expand Malaysia and Singapore's digital economies.

Fadzil added that the two countries have just renewed partnership on personal data protection, cybersecurity, and digital economy after inking a Memorandum of Understanding on Jan. 30 in Singapore.

The partnership between Malaysia and Singapore could not have come at a more apt time when online scams are on the rise in both countries. According to the Royal Malaysian Police via The New Straits Times on Sept. 26, 2022, online scams increased amid the pandemic years, from 13,703 scams in 2019 to 17,227 and 20,701 scams in 2020 and 2021, respectively. These scams included online sales scams, online trading scams, African scams, Macau scams, business email compromised (BEC) scams, fake loans, and SMS scams.

Singapore's crime rate also surged by 24% in 2021, as fuelled by scam cases committed by scammers who took advantage of the health crisis. The total scam cases in 2021 reached 23,931, up from 15,651 cases in 2020 and comprised 51.8% of the overall crime in 2021. These scams included job scams, non-banking and banking-related phishing scams, e-commerce scams, investment scams, and loan scams. 

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