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More than half of scam victims are young adults; most fell for job scams

SINGAPORE – Most victims of scams are young people, with 50.8 per cent of those duped being adults aged 20 to 39.

While the police did not reveal the exact number of young adults who were duped in the first half of 2023, they noted that scammers contacted them mostly via messaging platforms, social media and online shopping platforms.

In 2022, more than 53 per cent of victims were young adults, debunking the myth that the elderly were the most likely to be scammed.

Releasing the mid-year scam statistics on Wednesday, the police said 33.9 per cent of young adult victims fell prey to job scams, the most common scam type in the first half of 2023.

There were 5,737 job scam cases reported, with the total amount lost at $79.4 million.

Another 23.9 per cent of victims aged 20 to 39 were cheated in e-commerce scams, which happen when victims come across apparent good deals online but fail to receive the products after making payment.

There were 4,516 such scam cases in the first half of 2023, the second-highest number of reported incidents among all scam types, with $7.3 million lost by victims.

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In July, The Straits Times reported how a 30-year-old woman fell prey to an e-commerce scam after paying $700 for a pair of Taylor Swift tickets to a “reseller” on Carousell.

Desperate for tickets after failing to get them on Ticketmaster, she had trawled through Carousell and thought she had snagged a good deal for them, but later realised she had been cheated when the “reseller” blocked her after receiving the money.

The administrative executive was one of at least 54 victims who lost more than $45,000 in less than a week after tickets to the pop star’s The Eras Tour were sold out in July.

After young adults, almost a third of victims who were scammed in the first half of 2023 were adults aged 40 to 59. The police said 24.1 per cent of victims from this age group fell prey to fake friend call scams, 19.5 per cent fell for e-commerce scams, and 18.9 per cent were victims of job scams.

Noting that job scams continue to be a cause for concern, National University of Singapore business professor Lawrence Loh said: “Such scams are insidious because it targets anyone who is desperate to get a job. Sometimes, people may not think twice because they just want to secure work.”

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In 2022, victims of job scams lost $117.4 million across 6,492 reported cases.

Meanwhile, the elderly aged 60 and above made up 11.7 per cent of the total number of scam victims in the first half of 2023. Among this group, 40.7 per cent fell for fake friend call scams, while 12.5 per cent were cheated in phishing scams.

Young people aged 10 to 19 made up 5.3 per cent of the total number of scam victims. Almost a third fell for job scams, while 28.6 per cent were victims of e-commerce scams.

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