NCPC brings back "Black Heart Awards" for scam awareness campaign

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has just concluded its campaign titled "The Black Heart Awards - Most Unpopular Scammer Award". The campaign ran for about four months and first launched in 25 November 2017.

During this period, several channels were used to spread the anti-scam messages. Communication channels used were primarily online, print, out-of-home (OOH) media platforms, TV as well as offline direct public engagements through activations and roadshows.

The creative and agency behind the campaign is The Thinc Group, and GroupM - CMS respectively, while SCREAME took on the digital role. NCPC also pushed out anti-scam messages through content companies such as SGAG and Mothership.

The campaign introduces four scammers, each representing a scam in Singapore. These actor-scammers conducted street interviews, games and challenges in a bid to share their scam tactics, as well as allow the public understand the measures on could take to avoid becoming a victim.

All the offline activations were then posted on NCPC's social media platforms such as Facebook page, YouTube and Instagram to increase publicity and allow netizens to share the anti-scam tips with their family and friends. According to the press release, the campaign's online and offline strategies aided to create more buzz, helping NCPC to reach out to a wider audience.

In a press statement, Ng Khee Jin, chairman of the public communications sub-committee, NCPC said that the brand's challenge is to find creative ways and the correct platforms to deliver its "dry" messages in the online world.

“Communication channels are evolving so NCPC has to constantly review and calibrate its strategies in order to effectively deliver crime prevention information to our target audience. This campaign is NCPC’s first step towards embracing a more extensive digital approach to disseminate its messages," Ng added.

Last year, NCPC and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) launched the same campaign, featuring characters such Jia Hao Ren (translating to Fake Good Man), Zhuang Ke Lian (Acting Pitiful) and Mei Liang Xin (No Conscience).

Earlier in the month, SPF staged a “con job” at Jurong Point mall. The campaign saw the baiting of unsuspecting shoppers presented with “good deals” at a booth called “Liason”. After handing over their cash without much question to booth operators, the shoppers were brought to a dark room for a reveal that this was the modus operandi of many online scams by an SPF officer.

Other scam campaigns run by government agencies in the past year also include an investment scams awareness campaign by the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS), through MoneySENSE, and the Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS). Initial stages of the campaign saw the organisations launching fake websites touting island resort and gold investments in a bid to raise awareness by “tricking” members of the public.