SkillsFuture sets up task force to weed out scams

SkillsFuture Singapore has stepped up its fraud detection protocols, following the recent discovery of fake claims.

An inter-agency task force was recently formed to investigate all SkillsFuture claims, following the discovery of fraudulent claims amounting to some S$40 million being paid out by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) in October 2017.

That month, SSG detected anomalies in claims for training grants related to nine business entities. It immediately suspended all payments of grants to these nine business entities and reported the case to authorities.

Preliminary police investigation then revealed that there was a criminal syndicate behind the fraudulent claims. It operated an organised network that utilised the nine business entities in question, comprising employer companies and training providers, to submit the claims.

This new task force, said Education (Higher Education and Skills) Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament on January 8, will first analyse the movement’s existing fraud detection system, before submitting its recommendations for improvements.

Ong added that SSG will also implement a fraud analytics system as part of the scam detection overhaul.

“Through appropriate use of data analytics and drawing on data across Government agencies, we can better detect false claims, without significantly affecting genuine employers applying for training grants to upgrade the skills of their workers,” he said.

SSG aims to have an “effective” data analytics system up and running by the third quarter of this year. This would allow the agency to detect any scams as early as possible, even if it cannot entirely prevent it.

“Fraudsters, who are going all out to cheat, are getting more sophisticated and their plans more elaborate,” said Ong.

“They will also evolve their approach. SSG’s detection system must be improved and become more sophisticated too.”

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