Should banks be mandated to fully reimburse scam victims as suggested by WP Sylvia Lim?


Should banks in Singapore be mandated by law to fully reimburse scam victims, and in a timely manner without much hassle as suggested by WP MP Sylvia Lim?

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan said doing so could erode vigilance and personal responsibility, and lull users into complacency. 

While the amounts lost by an individual in any single scam case can be substantial, Mr Tan said a balance must be struck between fairness, accountability and compassion.

“There are some views that banks can easily absorb losses arising from individual scam cases. However, full restitution without due consideration of culpability is neither fair nor desirable,” he added.

In comments seen on social media, members of the public seem to agree that such a move would lead to complacency. 

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If banks are obligated to reimburse scam losses, the public will get more complacent.

Such a move has unintended consequences

They include enticing scammers to target Singapore. Some members of the public have suggested that it will make people more reckless. They become less vigilant knowing that if they get scammed, they can depend on banks for a bailout.

Scams will flourish with reckless people and scammers will become more daring, knowing that the general public will be less discerning”.

Banks could find themselves at the receiving end of the stick, bearing responsibility for someone else’ mistake or greed. 

‘Victims’ may even collude with scammers, similar to how some people have sold their SingPass accounts for money and were coached by scammers to lie to the police

What if one ‘ownself scams ownself’ for profit?  It’s not farfetched. 

WP Sylvia Lim’s proposal to compel banks to make full restitution for something that may not be their fault smacks of populism with no regard for consequences

Fighting scams is not easy. Banks indeed, need to step up but so does everyone else, including consumers. What is needed is greater awareness and vigilance, ‘not feeding it with neglect knowing there’s a bottomless restitution from the banks’. 

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You cannot combat scams by feeding it with neglect.
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There will be no need for anyone to take into account their 'buyer beware' responsibility if banks have to indiscriminately reimburse every scam victim.


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