'Do not ignore this letter': Anti-scam mailer designed to capture attention, say police

SINGAPORE – Some residents this month received a plain white envelope with the words “Do not ignore this letter” and a Singapore Police Force crest and tagline in the corner – leading to questions about its authenticity.

The letter is in fact an anti-scam awareness initiative by the Ang Mo Kio Police Division, sent to all 316,000 households under its jurisdiction, the police told The Sunday Times on Saturday (Jan 15).

A spokesman said: “The letter was designed to capture the attention of residents and generate interest among them.

“We applied behavioural insights principles, for example in the use of large fonts and red text, to ‘nudge’ residents to take action to read the advisories and spread the message,” he added.

But residents who received it said that after being initially intrigued, they lost interest and some wound up binning the letter once they realised it was part of a genuine police anti-scam campaign.

Contained within the envelope is a note signed off by the area’s police division commander, warning of the danger of falling victim to “relentless” scammers targeting hard-earned savings.

It describes how scammers – largely operating from overseas – make their approach through the likes of unsolicited text messages and e-mails.

Prevalent types of scams involve job offers, investment opportunities and phishing, where scammers claim to represent trusted entities like the Government or banks, and convince victims to divulge sensitive information such as passwords.

The note is accompanied by a leaflet depicting signs of scams, including asking for funds to be transferred, or deals that are too good to be true.

People are also advised to give some thought and check or confirm details before taking any action.

The police said they would be sending similar fliers islandwide by the end of February.

Before sending out the letters, six neighbourhood police centres under Ang Mo Kio Police Division posted a teaser on their Facebook pages, to encourage residents to look out for the letters and not ignore them, said the police.

On Jan 7, for example, the Facebook page for Punggol Neighbourhood Police Centre had said the letter “contains an important message” and is “not a scam”.


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