SINGAPORE - A 22-year-old was nearly cheated of $8,500 on Thursday (Aug 11), but thanks to quick-thinking staff at the remittance agency, the money was recovered in full.
The victim, who received a phone call on Thursday around 9.50am, was told that a contraband parcel was sent to Shanghai in his name, and that the Shanghai police were investigating him for money laundering.
Under the guise of being Chinese law officials, the callers instructed him to provide his bank details and wire his money to them.
In the afternoon, the victim went to his regular remittance company, Zhongguo Remittance Pte Ltd at People's Park Complex. While attending to the victim, staff member Li Chun Li smelt a rat and alerted her supervisor, Ms Wang Meiqin, who then notified the police.
Officers from the Central Division and Commercial Affairs Department responded to the call and established that it was a scam following investigation. Action was taken to recover the money.
It is the third time that Zhongguo Remittance has helped to foil a remittance scam. Its staff also intervened in earlier cases, when victims tried to remit $1,000 to scammers on Aug 3 and $25,000 in July.
The police advise members of the public to be wary of unsolicited calls from unknown parties, especially since caller spoofing technology can be used to display a different phone number.
Even if the phone number appears to be a local number, recipients of such calls should hang up, wait five minutes, and then redial the number to make sure the call was legitimate.
The police also remind the public to refrain from freely giving out personal information and bank details. They should ignore orders to remit or transfer money, as no government agency would demand payment over the phone, much less into a third party's bank account.
If anyone has information or doubts related to such crimes, they can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or dial 999.