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Rise in concert ticket scams, as Singaporeans lose over $518,000 in 2023

Government says it implements multi-pronged approach to protect Singaporeans from such e-commerce scams

In a written Parliamentary reply, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam reveals statistics on concert ticket scams, with losses exceeding $518,000 between 1 January and 10 July this year, and a significant surge in recent years. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
In a written Parliamentary reply, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam reveals statistics on concert ticket scams, with losses exceeding $518,000 between 1 January and 10 July this year, and a significant surge in recent years. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE —Singapore has seen an increase in concert-ticket scams this year, causing citizens to lose over $518,000 between 1 January and 10 July.

In a written parliamentary reply published on Thursday (3 August), Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K.Shanmugam revealed the losses due to this particular form of fraud, in response to a question by Radin Mas SMC Member of Parliament Melvin Yong on the financial toll of such scams over the past five years.

According to the minister, the losses were $84,000 in 2018, $66,000 in 2019, $9,000 in 2020, $3,000 in 2021, and $175,000 in 2022.

Concert ticket frauds under SPF's radar

Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for Home Affairs, also addressed the measures being taken to combat the surge in scams during Parliament on Wednesday.

He highlighted that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has observed an increase in e-commerce scams, particularly those involving concert tickets.

The scams primarily target victims on popular e-commerce websites and social media platforms like Carousell, Facebook, Telegram and Twitter.

Scammers often employ tactics to create a sense of urgency, claiming that the tickets are selling out fast, pressuring victims to make hasty payments.

"Once the payment is received, scammers would claim to be unable to transfer the tickets to the victim and thereafter become uncontactable," Faishal said.

"In some cases, victims may receive their tickets via email or WhatsApp, only to realise that the tickets are invalid on the actual day of the concert."

Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for Home Affairs, shares insights on the government's efforts to tackle the surge in scams during a parliamentary session on Wednesday (2 August).
Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for Home Affairs shares insights on the government's efforts to tackle the surge in scams during a parliamentary session on Wednesday (2 August). (PHOTO: MCI YouTube/Screengrab)

Singapore's multi-faceted approach to protecting concert-goers

The Ministry of Home Affairs is taking a multi-faceted approach to tackle these scams effectively. One of the primary strategies is to collaborate closely with e-commerce and social media platforms to promptly take down scam advertisements and accounts involved in fraudulent activities.

SPF also worked with platforms to prevent such scams through pre-emptive detection and blocking of scam accounts.

Public education is another aspect of the Ministry's efforts. They have partnered with ticket retailers, concert organisers, and online platforms to issue advisories to the public, warning them about the dangers of concert-ticket scams.

"For example, SingPost displayed these advisories on digital screens within their outlets, for members of the public who were queuing to purchase concert tickets. Ticketmaster placed similar advisories on their website," Faishal added.

The Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams has also taken steps to promote safer e-commerce transactions. They introduced the E-commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings in May 2022, which informs consumers about the anti-scam measures implemented by major e-commerce platforms.

In a significant move to combat online criminal activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs passed the Online Criminal Harms Act last month.

This act empowers the government to issue directions to online platforms to disable online criminal content, including scam-related ones. It also allows the government to require providers of designated online services to implement upstream measures like user verification to prevent scams from occurring.

Empowering the Public: "Add, Check, Tell"

Faishal stressed that while these measures are vital, the public's vigilance remains the best defence against scams.

He urged Singaporeans to adopt the three-step approach of "Add, Check and Tell" to protect themselves from falling victim to concert ticket scams.

By adding security features to their devices, checking seller reviews and red flags, and reporting fraudulent advertisements and encounters, Singaporeans can use this as a precautionary measure to combat scams, Faishal added.

Assoc Prof Faishal warns of a rising tide of e-commerce scams, with concert ticket frauds taking stage on platforms like Carousell, Facebook, Telegram, and Twitter. (PHOTO:Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Assoc Prof Faishal warns of a rising tide of e-commerce scams, with concert ticket frauds taking stage on platforms like Carousell, Facebook, Telegram, and Twitter. (PHOTO: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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