Samlit Moneychanger, a remittance company foiled a scam attempt on July 8, 2016 by alerting the police department when a customer could not answer to questions about her intended remittance. This company has successfully detected two scam attempts within just two days, stated the police.
A 69-year-old victim were called by a person who said that she had a parcel containing illegal items to be delivered via DHL to Shanghai under her name. Then she was transferred to "custom officer" who threatened her with imprisonment if she did not fulfill his instructions.
She commanded her to call her at specific timings. At the time, the victim was told to remit $25,000 to a specific China account so that the "authority" can expedite the investigations.
One of the company's staff, Ms Novianthi Goh, were suspicious because the victim was not able to provide reasonable answers to the questions of general enquiries and she was on the phone the whole time and seemed to be acting under instructions.
Mr Malik Sameer, an employee of the company, immediately called the police at 12.30 pm, while Ms Goh tried to dig out more informations from the victim.
This scam is the third one of a similar case that occurred during the last two weeks, involving a total amount of $255,000.
Police department commended Mr Malik and Ms Goh for their civic mindedness and timely interventions to protect the victim.
It said there are several steps we can take to protect ourselves when we receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties :
- Ignore the calls. Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.
- Ignore instructions to remit or transfer money. No government agency will inform you to make a payment through a telephone call, especially to a third party's bank account.
- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and err in your judgment.
- If you have information related to such crime or if you are in doubt, call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or dial 999 for urgent police assistance.
Correction - The scam amount is $25,000 not $50,000 as previously reported.