What Singaporeans think about scams

Are all scam victims the product of their own greed? What should you do if you got scammed?

We talk to Singaporeans on the streets to find out their sentiments towards the crime and their victims.

This street interview video is part of a discussion with Psychologist Karyen Chai on the psychology of scams. Catch the full video here

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Video transcript

RONALD GOH: What do you think about people who fall for scams?

- Greedy, in general. That's my initial thought. There's also that ones that maybe are not well informed. Nowadays the scammers are getting more and more intelligent.

- I think, like, even the most educated people can fall for scams, as well. Very young kids or young to, like, old people. There's a very wide range of people who fall for scams.

- Even when you are very cautious, there are some times that you just let your guard down and you may actually fall even the most dumbest of scams in your opinion, right?

RONALD GOH: What will you do if you, yourself, got scammed?

- I think the first approach I will probably do is just to report it.

- For example, if they got my credit card details, I would definitely approach the bank or call the police or report it-- make a report. And also, to warn my fellow colleagues or friends because I feel that sometimes they are able to get mass contacts. So they are able to send a single link to phish or email to a whole organization. Yeah.

- Maybe just trace your steps or, like, contact your bank and, you know, just like freeze your account and stuff. I have known cases who got their money back. The first thing that people will probably do is panic, but actually there are ways to get it back. So I think just don't lose hope. I mean, if it's a really, really huge amount then you can panic, but I guess you still have hope to get it back.

RONALD GOH: Do you think there are sort of mental health effects of getting scammed?

- For sure. For sure. I mean, especially if it's your hard-earned money that you've gotten scammed on, it's natural to-- you know, you could potentially get depressed about it.

- If I was scammed I think I'd be very upset. For not so much about the money, but the fact that I was foolish enough to fall for it. The bigger the magnitude, of course, then the mental stress will be there, especially if the part where-- remember I was telling you that if they aren't able to recover the money back.

- So it's something that we shouldn't take lightly. Yeah. And, I guess, if you know someone who's been scammed you want to be there for them. There's a limit to what the police can do for you. I suppose friend support, family support, that's the only way to get through it.

- Oh, definitely. I think that there people who still kind of suffered from the backlash of being scammed and stuff. They will probably feel like they'll blame themselves for it and that they would just keep thinking about it and be like, oh, why am I so stupid to fall for these kind of things? But it will have a long lasting effect on those people. Yeah.

- Think, you know, if the scam is just you lose like $2, you wouldn't worry too much about it. But it depends on the magnitude and the context of the person who is being scammed.

RONALD GOH: What sort of advice would you give to people to avoid from getting scammed?

- OK. So what advice? I would say that always get a second opinion.

- Don't act on your greed or just keep a clear mind when people just come to you with like, oh, this is a good deal and stuff like that. Maybe just take a step back.

- Just be very careful. Just be very careful. Don't divulge private information, especially by your bank accounts, to people you don't know.

- Be aware. That's all I can say. And then also read up on the news.