Solutions that foster a scam-resilient society

110 participants have come together to find innovative anti-scam solutions

In a collective fight against scams, DBS, the Singapore Courts (SG Courts), and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) are jointly organising a community hackathon that challenges participants to come up with creative solutions that will enable the public and corporations to reinforce their anti-scam defence.

The combined efforts come at a time when the number of scam cases in Singapore have soared by more than 50 per cent, resulting in victims losing more than SGD 600 million to scammers last year. The increase is due to several factors, including a step up in scam activity, as well as poor cyber hygiene amongst victims.

This unique private-public collaboration is organised under the banner of ‘Hackathon for a Better World’, which DBS and SG Courts launched in 2020 as an action-oriented platform for those with a passion to use innovation and law as forces for good to create valuable solutions to thorny issues that society faces. The hackathon also supports the Singapore Together movement, which brings together the Government and the community, as well as the private and public sectors, in citizen-led efforts to build a shared future for Singapore.

To focus on ground-up solutions, the organisers have extended invitations to various organisations including tertiary institutions, the Singapore Police Force, SG Courts staff, leading law firms, as well as DBS employees, to form teams and take a crack at building a scam-resilient society. Over the next two months, more than 20 teams will “hack” away at one of three problem statements that have been jointly developed by DBS, SG Courts and NCPC:

  • How can the public be more aware and take active steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams?
  • How can we improve Singapore’s existing anti-scam measures to combat scams in an efficient and scalable manner?
  • How can the legal community offer better protection and assistance to the public and businesses?

Lam Chee Kin, Group Head of Legal, Compliance and Secretariat at DBS Bank, said, “It’s great that the NCPC could join us in this third edition of ‘Hackathon for a Better World’. We try to take on current issues, even if they are difficult, and this year is particularly challenging because criminals are constantly evolving their techniques. An outside-the-box “hackathon” approach may yield insights or implementable proposals that can complement the work already being done by the public and private sectors, which include law enforcement agencies, telcos, banks and e-commerce companies.”

Tan Ken Hwee, Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer for SG Courts said, “We are delighted to take part in this event once again, to explore creative ways to improve access to justice and solve problems that have significant social impact. With the unprecedented number of scams affecting Singaporeans, it is timely for this year’s hackathon to deal with them. Participants also receive valuable training in innovation and transformation processes which they will no doubt benefit from.”

Dan Yock Hau, National Crime Prevention Council member, said, “As scams become more devious and sophisticated, preying on those who let their guard down, we hope to tap on the creativity of our contestants to develop practical and sustainable solutions that go beyond what we have done so far in order to help nudge our citizens to become a scam resilient community.”

Hackathon for a Better World will adopt a unique ‘slow-burn’ format, where participants work on their problem statements through an iterative process. This is unlike the usual hackathon format where participants solve problem statements over a few hours or a few days. The unconventional approach adopted in this instance will allow participants to have ample time and space to test their iterations while managing their existing commitments. This will also create a more conducive environment for participants to gain deeper insight and develop sharper, more meaningful responses to the complex challenges before them.

To support participants on their ‘learn-as-you-hack’ journey, DBS will organise a design thinking masterclass on 2 August to share the bank’s in-house innovation framework that enables participants to test, develop and validate data-driven insights as they work on their proposals. They will also receive first-hand insights on industry measures to counter scams that will help them with their ideation.

As part of the day’s agenda, attendees will get to hear from industry experts, such as Carolyn Misir, principal psychologist at the Police Psychological Services Department, to better understand the psychology behind scams. Each team is also assigned a mentor – unless they opt for otherwise – from DBS and NCPC with whom they can check in for additional guidance.



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