Consultation paper on equitable sharing of scam losses to be published in October 2023

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SINGAPORE: The Singapore government will publish a consultation paper next month on an equitable loss-sharing framework for financial scams, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan on Monday (Sep 18).

The framework, which aims to spell out how losses from scams are to be shared between consumers and financial institutions, was first announced in February 2022 after close to 800 OCBC customers lost a combined S$13.7 million to scammers. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said then it would publish, within three months, a draft framework for public consultation. But the process has taken “longer than expected” due to the complexity of the issues involved, the financial regulator said in previous parliamentary replies.

Providing an update in parliament on Monday, Mr Tan said: “While this has taken longer than we would like, the government aims to publish a consultation paper on the framework next month, focusing on phishing scams as a start.”

He was responding to an adjournment motion filed by Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim, who requested for an update on the draft framework.

Ms Lim also gave three suggestions on how to better protect banking customers from scams. For instance, she urged the government to consider ideas from other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, where from next year, banks will be required by law to reimburse fraud victims.

Mr Tan replied that authorities were monitoring developments abroad and will “take them into account” as the loss-sharing framework is developed further, including for other types of scams in the digital payments ecosystem.

MORE CAN BE DONE TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS: SYLVIA LIM

In her speech, WP chair Ms Lim first raised an “inadequacy” in the framework Singapore is considering for loss-sharing from scams.

While details have not yet been published, authorities previously indicated that customers have a responsibility to take necessary precautions and should be expected to bear a proportion of the loss, depending on whether they have fallen short of their responsibilities.

The WP chair described this as “inadequate and unjust”, saying that...

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