SINGAPORE - He had saved up $90,000 for his child's university fees, but lost the staggering sum in a phishing scam.
Recalling the incident which took place last year, Superintendent of Police Michelle Tay, the head of the Anti-Scam Centre, noted how emotionally vulnerable victims can be in the aftermath of a scam.
Speaking to The Straits Times on the second episode of the Stop Scams podcast which will be broadcast on Wednesday (March 30), Supt Tay said: "He (the victim) definitely felt very guilty for not being vigilant. But what was encouraging was that his family was very supportive and managed to help him out of this."
The Stop Scams podcast is a new series by The Straits Times to raise greater public awareness of the modern scourge of scams in Singapore and globally.
During the second episode, Supt Tay revealed how there has been a shift in scammers moving their ill-gotten gains to avoid the authorities.
She said: "In the past, they use scam victims and trick them into receiving and transferring funds out for them. Increasingly, we are observing that scammers are reaching out to youths to buy their bank accounts and their digital identity credentials."
With these credentials, the criminals can log into multiple sites to create new accounts, wallets, or even communication lines.
A bank account can fetch about $500 while those who sell their digital identity credentials are promised as much as $2,000, she said.
Warning the public against doing so, Supt Tay said: "More often than not, even though the youths are promised a fee, they will not receive the money. In fact, they will end up having to face the brunt of the law for their misdeeds."
During the episode, she also revealed her personal encounters with scams, including when her mother received a call claiming Supt Tay had been kidnapped.
Supt Tay will also be sharing about new scam variants to watch out for this year and how the public can help to stop scams.
In the previous episode, ST's crime team shared their biggest behind-the-scenes revelations while working on stories about scams.
All episodes are produced by ST podcast editor Ernest Luis and producers Hadyu Rahim and Teo Tong Kai.
Launched about three years ago, The Straits Times' and The Business Times' podcast network hit one million downloads last year, and now has about 30,000 unique listeners from more than 200 countries.
Follow ST's Stop Scams podcast series here:
Stop Scam Playlist: https://str.sg/wuZB
Apple Podcasts: https://str.sg/wnB5
For scam-related advice, go to this website.