OCBC bank teller helps prevent $18,000 love scam
When a female customer told OCBC bank teller Phua Shi Ling she wanted to transfer $18,000 to a personal account, she immediately sensed something was wrong.
The woman in her 60s said she was trying to transfer the money to an agent whose details she got via WhatsApp messages.
But when Ms Phua, who works at the Compass One branch, saw the messages involved intimate language, she suspected the woman was a love scam victim.
Ms Phua referred the woman to her customer service manager, Ms Edna Foo, 32, who learnt the woman had met the man online about five months earlier.
He had asked the woman, a widow, to help him pay the $18,000 registration fee for an oil rig contract, worth $8.5 million, he had secured.
Yesterday, Ms Phua and Ms Foo were among 47 people presented with the Public Spiritedness Award by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) for preventing 87 scam cases between Jan 1, 2018, and March 31, this year.
At the ceremony, CAD director David Chew said more than $158 million was lost to scams in 5,796 scam cases in 2018.
This was up from 4,805 cases in 2017.
Referring to the woman's case, Ms Foo told The New Paper the woman had never met the man before.
She said: "At first, she was hesitant to believe it was a scam, saying it was someone she had known for a while. But she began to realise it was a bit fishy."
Ms Foo then took her to make a police report.
In a separate release yesterday, the police said a couple had transferred RMB20,000 (S$4,000) to a Chinese bank account thinking their teenage son, 15, had been kidnapped.
The police said they received a report on May 1 and found the boy safe in a hotel room.