Trio suspected of conning elderly woman of $50,000 through DHL parcel scam arrested

SINGAPORE - Three men, who allegedly tricked an elderly woman into transferring $50,000 to them through a DHL parcel scam have been arrested.

One of them is aged 21, while the other two are 22.

On Thursday (July 14), at about 4pm, the police received a report from a 65-year-old woman regarding a call from an unknown person claiming to be working for DHL.

The woman was told that her parcel containing illegal goods was detained by the Chinese Customs. The caller then threatened her with legal action and instructed her to transfer money to an unknown local bank account so that that the authorities would not pursue the matter.

Out of fear, the woman transferred a sum of $50,000 to the bank account.

On Friday (July 15), the police said that officers from Jurong Division conducted extensive investigations to establish the identity of the 21-year-old suspect who had withdrawn the money from a bank.

Within three hours from the time of the report, the officers arrested him at Ang Mo Kio Hub at about 6.30pm. The two other suspects were also arrested at Tuas on the same day at about 8.45pm.

If convicted of conspiracy to dishonestly receive stolen property, they face a jail term of up to five years, a fine, or both.

The police advised the public to take precautions when they receive unsolicited calls, especially from unknown parties.

Here are some tips from the police:

- 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 to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details - such as Internet bank account usernames and passwords, and one-time password 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.