SINGAPORE: SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has made changes to its systems and processes so that it can better detect suspected fraudulent claims, said the statutory board in a media release on Thursday (Nov 29).
This follows recommendations made by an inter-agency task force which was set up last year to review processes, after millions of dollars worth of fraudulent SkillsFuture claims were paid out by SSG.
READ: First member of 5-person syndicate jailed over S$40m SkillsFuture claims scam
Measures implemented by SSG include the setting up of a dedicated division to monitor and detect suspicious claims, investigate the parties involved and take the necessary enforcement actions.
It has also partnered GovTech and other private sector consultants to incorporate data analytics into its fraud detection system.
“Using historical claim patterns, machine learning algorithms were developed and incorporated to detect anomalies in claim submissions and highlight claims requiring further investigations,” said SSG.
“Through an iterative process, confirmed fraudulent claims are fed back into the algorithms to sharpen the system’s ability and speed to detect future fraudulent claims.”
SSG added that after potential fraud cases have been detected, it will conduct inquiries or site visits, as well as take steps to immediately withhold disbursement while investigations take place.
Under the SkillsFuture national movement announced in 2015, Singaporeans aged 25 and above receive a S$500 credit from the Government to attend courses by approved training providers. The scheme is overseen by SSG.
Earlier this week, the first member of a five-man syndicate that defrauded SSG of almost S$40 million was sentenced to more than five years’ jail.
Lee Chi Wai, 32, had helped to hide criminal proceeds of S$6.7 million in cash and 11kg of gold in his home.
“With fraudsters devising increasingly elaborate scams, our fraud risk management system is evolving to better safeguard the funds earmarked for the skills development of our workforce,” said SSG chief executive Ng Cher Pong.
“Specifically, we are making better use of technology and data to enhance our capabilities. Coupled with a firm enforcement stance, these measures will serve as a strong deterrent against potential abuse,” he added.
“We will not tolerate individuals and companies that abuse this system, and they will be severely dealt with.”