Lured by ‘profits’ from crypto investment, 63-year-old gives scammers over RM882,000

The man made several transfers to different bank accounts, which were noticed by HSBC Bank and brought to the attention of the Anti-Scam Centre. — GAVIN FOO/The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE: Tempted by the promise of easy money from a cryptocurrency investment scheme, a 63-year-old man was convinced by a woman who added him on Facebook to part with more than S$250,000 (RM882,501).

He made several transfers to different bank accounts, which were noticed by HSBC Bank and brought to the attention of the Anti-Scam Centre on Feb 15.

The man, who lives overseas, was dissuaded from making any more transfers, and the centre managed to recover more than S$90,000 (RM317,726).

His case is one of four that the Singapore police highlighted on March 5. The four victims are all older men, aged between 63 and 78.

The police said the Anti-Scam Centre worked with Standard Chartered Bank, OCBC Bank, DBS Bank and HSBC Bank to prevent losses totalling about S$265,000 (RM935,528).

Another victim fell prey to an investment scam marketed by a “friend” who claimed to live in Hong Kong.

The 71-year-old man, told that any investments he made in a food and beverage company owned by the “friend” would be matched, made two transactions.

The second transaction on Feb 7 was flagged by Standard Chartered Bank’s anti-fraud team after he attempted to send more than S$50,000 (RM176,514) as payment to a supplier that did not exist. The police did not say if the Anti-Scam Centre managed to recover any money in this instance.

In the third case cited, a 74-year-old man received a pop-up notification on his laptop telling him that his device was corrupted.

He called the hotline number given in the notification and was referred to an “official” from the “Cyber Security Department”, who told him that his bank account was compromised.

To catch the culprits, the “officials” said, he had to transfer more than S$70,000 (RM247,120) to a bank account in Hong Kong, while the so-called authorities would deposit the money needed for the transaction into his account.

The victim went to a counter at OCBC Bank’s Bedok branch intending to transfer the money. A staff member, however, became suspicious and notified a colleague in the bank’s anti-scam unit, who then stopped the transactions done on the account.

Officers from the Anti-Scam Centre then spoke with the victim on the same day and prevented him from making further transfers.

In the fourth case, a 78-year-old man accepted a friend request from a woman on Facebook.

She claimed to face financial difficulties and asked him for a loan, which he gave.

The scammer said she would repay the victim by sending a parcel of cash and other luxury items, but he had to pay the Customs taxes, logistics holding fees and a foreign currency transaction fee, the sum of which was not revealed by the police.

This suspicious transaction was detected was by DBS Bank’s anti-scam team, who blocked it, as well as the man’s access to Internet banking.

When he went to a physical branch to regain access to Internet banking, as well as withdraw the balance in his account, staff members alerted the Anti-Scam Centre. Officers eventually dissuaded him from withdrawing more than S$50,000 (RM176,514).

“The collaborative efforts between the Anti-Scam Centre and the banks underscore the importance of quick intervention actions to foil the evolving scam tactics employed by the scammers,” said the police.

They reiterated the need for people to look up official sources such as the Anti-Scam Helpline to learn how to spot scams, and to set up security features such as two-factor authentication and transaction limits. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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