SINGAPORE - An attempt to scam an elderly woman of $200,000 last week was thwarted, thanks to alert staff at Maybank, police said in a press release on Monday (Aug 8).
Ms Doreen Ong and Ms Christine Ting, who work at the bank's People's Park Centre branch, attended to the 72-year-old woman on Aug 2 at around 12.57pm.
They suspected something was amiss when she asked to transfer a sum of $200,000 to help a friend facing problems with foreign immigration.
Suspecting that the woman was being cheated, they called the police.
Police said that officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and Central Division responded to the case and discovered that the victim had been scammed into transferring the money to a local bank account.
Investigations also revealed that she had been communicating with an "unknown suspect" via Facebook messaging and WhatsApp for more than five years.
She had also transferred a total of $75,500 to the suspect on two previous occasions.
"Through continuous engagement with the victim, the police eventually managed to convince the victim that the request for monetary assistance was a scam and she did not make any further funds transfer," the press release said.
Police investigations are ongoing.
When befriending unknown people over the Internet, the public is advised to adopt the following measures:
- Be cautious of requests to remit or transfer money to people acquainted online or people you do not know well enough. The criminal can spend months building rapport with you online before asking for money;
- Do not accede to requests that may put you in a vulnerable position, such as performing compromising acts in front of the webcam, or giving personal details about yourself when interacting with other internet users;
- If you receive any message or call from anyone claiming he/she is in some kind of trouble overseas and need you to urgently send money over, you should report the matter to Police and not transfer the money;
- Do not allow your personal bank accounts to be used by other persons for financial transaction purposes. You could unwittingly become an accomplice to receiving money obtained from crime.