Three remittance staff commended for foiling impersonation scams
Mr Sameer Malik, Ms Novianti and Ms Li Fang were commended for foiling two impersonation scams.
SINGAPORE: A 75-year-old woman would have lost 90 per cent of her savings to a scam, had it not been for two quick-thinking staff of a remittance company at People’s Park Complex.
For foiling the scam, Mr Sameer Malik and Ms Novianti were on Wednesday (Sep 20) commended by the police. A third remittance staff from another agency, Ms Li Fang, also received praise for her efforts in preventing a separate scam.
Both cases involved scammers pretending to be police from China, and the victims were told to remit cash to Chinese bank accounts.
LARGE REMITTANCE RAISED SUSPICIONS
On Sep 8, the 75-year-old victim was contacted by a man claiming to be a police investigator from China, and was told that she was a suspect in a case of transnational fraud.
The man claimed that he could expedite the probe to clear her name if she transferred a refundable deposit to a Chinese bank account.
When the victim told the caller that she did not know how to remit cash overseas, he directed her to meet a woman who brought her to Samlit Moneychanger at People’s Park Complex.
Mr Sameer, an assistant manager at Samlit, saw that the victim was anxious and was accompanied by a woman who claimed to be her daughter.
"She's remitting money to China to her granddaughter. It just doesn't make sense because the family should be in Singapore," he said.
He added that on her bank withdrawal slip, they saw that the victim only had a balance of S$5,000 after withdrawing S$40,000.
"It's another red flag, that how come a person is taking 90 per cent of her savings out and remitting to a beneficiary in China?" Mr Sameer told Channel NewsAsia. He alerted the general manager Ms Novianti, who also found the circumstances suspicious.
"While I tried to reject the transaction without the complete documents, the scammer threatened. I overhead that she said: ‘It's okay, we'll go to other remittance company.’ So when I heard that, I decided to pretend to accept the transaction, and call the police," Ms Novianti recalled.
The woman who accompanied the victim, a 50-year-old Singaporean, was arrested later in the day. Investigations are ongoing, police said.
In the second case, a 61-year-old woman was stopped from remitting S$15,000 to a Chinese bank account, thanks to Ms Li Fang who works at Zhongguo Remittance which is also located at People’s Park Complex.The victim had been told that she was accused of money laundering and that the money would be an “assurance fee” while the Chinese police investigate the matter.
She was told to say that the remittance was for a property investment, a common characteristic of this scam, the Singapore Police Force said in a news release.
Noticing that the victim appeared flustered, Ms Li contacted the police’s Commercial Affairs Department. Police officers then convinced the victim that this was an impersonation scam and no money was remitted.
THREE EMPLOYEES COMMENDED
Ms Li, Mr Sameer and Ms Novianti were commended in a ceremony held at the Police Cantonment Complex on Wednesday.
Director of the Commercial Affairs Department, Mr David Chew, said: “As scammers are constantly finding new ways to target and cheat their victims, the police and the public must work hand in hand to actively prevent scams.
“I commend Miss Li Fang, Mr Sameer Malik and Miss Novianti for their vigilance and public spiritedness. Their efforts prevented two victims from falling prey to the criminals and are a strong testament to the close partnership between the Police and its stakeholders in fighting crime.”