Stop scams: Paying the price for falling for fake love, investments and jobs

The Straits Times’ Stop Scams campaign celebrates its first anniversary on Jan 29. Here’s a look at how scams have evolved over the years and how two scam victims have been coping since we last featured them in our reports.

When accessing free Wi-Fi could lead you to lose life savings to scammers

Keying in your personal details to access free Wi-Fi at a cafe might sound mundane enough, but it could lead to a lifetime of regret.

Fraudsters can get their hands on such information – through hacking or buying it illegally – and claim to be from government agencies to manipulate people into handing over their life savings, said Assistant Professor Kang Hyunjin from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

She said: “Many victims don’t realise they are being cheated as they underestimate the lengths these swindlers will go to steal from them.”


Marriage delayed from losing $17,000 to job scam, victim worries about having kids later

If it were not for a job scam, she would have got married and become a mother by now.

Her life plans came to a halt after Iris (not her real name), 35, was cheated of $17,000 meant for her wedding, which had been planned for the end of 2021.

It took the administrative worker three years to save the money but it was stolen from her in just a day in September that year.


Retirement plans for cleaner who fell for impersonation scam put on hold

She was close to retirement when she was cheated of her life savings worth $40,000 in April 2021.

Instead of enjoying her golden years, Madam Lim (not her real name), 70, who lives alone in a one-room Housing Board flat in Khatib, has had to continue working as an office cleaner to make ends meet.

The divorcee works three to four days a week for a couple of hours each time, earning about $600 a month.


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