MCI response to PQ on fraudulent payments to hawkers via cashless payment modes
Parliament Sitting on 4 January 2021
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
28. Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how many hawkers have been affected by fraudulent transactions via cashless payments since the start of the Hawkers Go Digital Programme; (b) how can victims seek recourse without knowing the identities of the delinquent customers; and (c) whether the Ministry will review the training for hawkers to better equip them with the knowledge about such scams.
Since the Hawkers Go Digital programme began in June 2020, more than 900,000 e-payment transactions have been processed each month. To date, the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has not received any reports or complaints relating to fraudulent e-payment transactions from stallholders. However, we have noted news reports, where stallholders cited instances of dishonest customers using fraudulent screenshots or immediately cancelling their transactions after showing the pre-payment page to the stallholders.
The SG Digital Office (SDO) and SPF take a serious view on this matter and will continue to monitor the overall situation closely. Any persons found to be involved in scams and frauds will be dealt with firmly in accordance with the law. Depending on the facts of the case, scammers may be charged under one of the cheating-related provisions under Sections 415 to 420 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum imprisonment term of between three to ten years.
- SDO will also continue to work with NETS and participating payment schemes to further strengthen the security features and functions of their e-payment systems to safeguard against fraudulent transactions.
Currently, stallholders can use the NETSBiz mobile application which has been installed on their devices to verify and track e-payments transactions in real-time. The App also has voice notifications in English and Mandarin when a transaction has been successfully processed. During onboarding by SDO’s Digital Ambassadors and NETS personnel, stallholders are taught how to use the NETS BizApp, including its payment verification features.
In addition to technical solutions, SDO and NETS are stepping up efforts to educate stallholders and raise their awareness of online scams and how they can be prevented. Customers must also ensure good practices are being followed including, for instance, by reminding stallholders to check the payment notifications.
- We all have a part to play in this effort and encourage members of the public to stay vigilant and report suspected scams and fraudulent transactions promptly to the Police.