MCI response to PQ on awareness amongst elderly on risks and scams on Internet
Parliament Sitting on 4 January 2021
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
29. Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how will the Ministry raise awareness among the elderly about the risks and threats which make them susceptible to frauds and scams on the Internet; and (b) what measures are there to ensure that the elderly who are unable to pick up new IT skills despite undergoing courses are not alienated from our society.
It is imperative to enable our seniors to participate meaningfully and safely in an increasingly digitalised world. The SG Digital Office (SDO) is at the forefront of our efforts to help seniors go online confidently, and protect themselves against threats and scams. During the engagement sessions with Digital Ambassadors, seniors are educated about cyber risks and threats, and how to keep themselves safe. For example, seniors are advised not to disclose One-Time-Passwords to anyone when using digital banking services, and to use strong passwords for their online accounts. These tips and advisories were developed jointly with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Media Literacy Council. We will also continue to work with relevant agencies to identify new topics as the online ecosystem evolves.
SDO’s efforts are complemented by SPF, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and CSA’s public education initiatives to raise awareness of online scams. The Police work with Residents’ Committees and grassroots volunteers to alert residents, including senior citizens, about scams over WhatsApp and at community events. In August 2020, NCPC launched their latest anti-scam public education campaign, ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes.’, which focuses on sharing real-life examples of scams to educate the public, including the elderly, on how to spot the tell-tale signs of various scams. CSA also recently ran a series of webinars jointly with IMDA and SPF to provide seniors with tips to guard against online scams.
We recognise that some seniors may still find it challenging to go digital, and may need physical touchpoints or counters to support them with their daily needs. This is why the SDO has set up 55 SG Digital community hubs at community centres (CCs) and libraries island-wide to provide in-person support for seniors to pick up digital skills for communication, access government digital services and make e-payments. Seniors can also seek such support at selected CCs through PA’s Tech Connect initiative, or visit Integrated Public Service Centres to obtain help with Government services. Government communications to seniors are also made available in the four official languages. To widen our reach, we also feature government announcements on Digital Display Panels in HDB lifts and lift landings.
As digitalisation is here to stay, the Government will work with private and community service providers to help seniors, and others who are digitally less savvy, navigate the transition and foster an inclusive digital future for all.