An Assessment of Scams in East Asia

Summary

Whilst all countries are seeing an increasing level of scams, richer countries, for example, G7, EU & OECD member countries are reporting the most in terms of cases & losses. A few countries or jurisdictions are reporting sufficient information to be able to understand the threat well enough & appreciate the response. These include Australia, Hong Kong SAR & Singapore, which this report is focussed on, as well a handful of others, for example New Zealand, Taiwan, Canada, UK & USA.

 

There are more than 20 main types or variety of scam types identified in this report, with some hybrids & others involving additional forms of criminality, leading to financial losses, lifestyle changing consequences, & changes to life with 500,000 people estimated as modern slavery/human trafficking victims forced into criminality to support romance baiting and numerous suicides from scams such as sextortion.

 

Proceeds from reported losses from Australia, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore (as well as reported losses from other countries with reported losses, namely the UK, Canada & the USA) if extrapolated globally, generate estimates between US$50 Billion and US$177 Billion with a mid point estimate of US$114 Billion, which would make it the 64th largest country by GDP equivalent. Average losses per victim are estimated therefore at US$12,000 and average losses per citizen at approximately US$62. Despite this, scam losses are widely acknowledged as being under reported.

 

Factors which make countries or jurisdictions more attractive targets, include those that are richer but also, more advanced in terms of digitalisation & connectivity, are able to offer digital remote banking & faster payments, with speedy remote opening of many new bank accounts, use of none cash including use of virtual currencies, significant online time being spent including on the internet & on social media & the availability & popularity of e-commerce, having languages spoken common to those of the scammers & of course a general limited awareness of enough citizens to scam types & tricks & how to defend themselves.

 

Based on the research carried out into Australia, Hong Kong SAR & Singapore and summarised in this paper, the GCFFC APAC Chapter believe a number of responses may have merit and is consulting on which of the focus areas and possible actions highlighted in this paper may make an important difference and could be supported going forward to improve the effectiveness in fighting scams.

 

For more details, the full paper can be found here: GCFFC Scams in East Asia Report

 

The Press Release for the report can be found here: GCFFC- Press release for East Asia Scams Report