2 Taiwanese men arrested for involvement in scam that cheated woman out of $70,000

The 58-year-old woman said she had received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the Chinese police.
The 58-year-old woman said she had received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the Chinese police.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two Taiwanese men have been arrested for their suspected involvement in a series of scams, one of which cheated a woman out of $70,000.

The woman, 58, lodged a police report on Monday (March 26) saying that she had been cheated of the sum of money.

She said she had received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the Chinese police on Sunday.

The man told the victim that she had been identified to be a suspect in a cross-border fraud case and had to surrender all the money in her bank account for investigation.

The victim was flustered and withdrew $70,000 from her bank account that same day, the police said in a statement on Wednesday.

She met another man and handed the cash to him, as directed by the scammer on the phone.

After conducting extensive follow-up investigations, the police arrested two Taiwanese men aged 26 and 35 on Wednesday.

They had received criminal proceeds that were linked to a China official impersonation scam, preliminary investigations revealed. They are also believed to be involved in several other similar cases.

The two men will be charged in court with dishonestly receiving stolen property. If found guilty, they can be jailed for up to five years and/or fined.

The police advised the public to take the following precautions when receiving unsolicited calls asking them to surrender money:

- Ignore such calls and the caller's instructions. No government agency will demand payment through an undocumented medium like a telephone call or other social messaging platforms (WeChat or Facebook), or ask you for personal banking information such as your Internet banking passwords.

- Foreign residents receiving calls from persons claiming to be police officers or government officials from your home country should call their Embassy or High Commission to verify the claims of the caller.

- Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as Internet bank account usernames and passwords or OTP codes from tokens are useful to criminals. Do not make any fund transfers at the behest of such callers.

- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively.

For more scam-related advice, visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.