In 2020, one in three people in Southeast Asia experienced online fraud amid a boom in online shopping and activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Asia-Pacific already has the highest number of internet users in the world, so the opportunities for scammers were already aplenty before the crisis of 2020.

Cybercriminals were quick to take advantage of the crisis in the region for their own nefarious gains. For example, The Singapore Police Force (SPF) observed a 163 percent surge in online scams coinciding with the onset of COVID-19. The increase in online activities served as the perfect backdrop for increasingly nuanced racketeering efforts by financial crime syndicates who targeted everything from the boom in deliveries, to interest in the stock market and even the vaccine program to fleece consumers.

Scams in the time of the coronavirus

With banks offering record-low interest rates, consumers are turning to alternative places to put their money. Scammers…

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