Remittance company foils scam attempt involving $5,000

A 38-year-old man nearly fell victim to an attempted phone scam before Samlit Moneychanger staff member Novianti Goh intervened.
A 38-year-old man nearly fell victim to an attempted phone scam before Samlit Moneychanger staff member Novianti Goh intervened.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A remittance company has once again foiled an attempted phone scam, saving one man $5,000.

On Friday (Sept 23), at about 3.30pm, Samlit Moneychanger staff member Novianti Goh alerted the police to a suspected case of cheating.

Investigations found that a 38-year-old man had received a call at 10.50am that day claiming to be from the police.

He was directed to a female operator claiming to be a police officer, who alleged that the victim was under investigation for money laundering and could be arrested. The man gave his personal details to the operator.

Shortly after, he received another call from a man purporting to be a police officer. The man told the victim that his account had been used for money laundering and that policemen were standing by to arrest him.

The caller then volunteered to bail the victim out for $5,000, which was to be remitted to a bank account in China.

Throughout the conversation, the caller told the victim not to tell anyone anything about their correspondence.

Later, Ms Goh attended to the victim at Samlit Moneychanger and noticed that he seemed nervous and appeared to be taking instructions from the caller.

She communicated with the victim by writing on a piece of paper, and notified the police as she suspected something was amiss.

The victim's money was recovered thanks to her timely intervention, the police said in a news release on Saturday (Sept 24).

"The police would like to commend Ms Goh for her timely intervention which helped to foil the scam attempt," the release said.

It is not the first time that Samlit Moneychanger and Ms Goh have been in the news for preventing scams.

In July, she was attending to a woman when she suspected something amiss as the victim could not answer general queries.

A colleague alerted the police. The 69-year-old victim was being scammed into remitting $50,000 to an overseas account.

In Saturday's press release, the police advised people, when receiving unsolicited calls, to:

- ignore them as calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore

- ignore instructions to remit or transfer money; no government agency would ask the public to make a payment through a phone call

- not give out personal information or bank details

- call a trusted friend or relative before doing anything