Police investigating after man posts online about abusing COVID-19 Temporary Relief Fund

Police investigating after man posts online about abusing COVID-19 Temporary Relief Fund

A man uses a laptop computer at a wireless cafe in Beijing on July 1, 2009
File photo of a man using a laptop. (Photo: AFP/Frederic J Brown)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the police are looking into a case of possible abuse of the COVID-19 Temporary Relief Fund (TRF), after a man claimed he was able to obtain aid without any documents.

In a news release on Sunday (Apr 12), the authorities said they had identified a 41-year-old Singaporean man who had posted online about obtaining TRF aid.

The man claimed that he was able to obtain the aid without any documents, and that the system was "so simple to cheat", said MSF and the police in a joint news release.

Announced as part of the Resilience Budget unveiled last month, the fund provides immediate financial assistance to those in need.

The scheme provdes immediate one-off cash assistance of S$500 to lower- to middle-income Singaporeans and permanent residents who have lost their jobs or faced an income loss of at least 30 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and require urgent help with basic living expenses.

The authorities said they were also aware of social media advertisements "purportedly selling forged payslips for the purpose of making fraudulent TRF claims".

“MSF and the police treat such cases seriously and will not hesitate to take action against anyone who abuses and/or facilitates the abuse of the TRF," said the two bodies.

They warned members of the public that such advertisements could be scams, and advised them not to respond to them.

Abuse of the TRF could constitute a cheating offence and will be immediately referred to the police for investigation, said MSF and the police.

Anyone convicted of cheating could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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Source: CNA/ga

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