Remittance firm employees foil impersonation scams
Trio at remittance agencies called police after getting suspicious of transactions
The elderly woman had walked into the remittance firm to remit $40,000, but the employee refused to carry out the transfer as she suspected the woman was a scam victim.
Yesterday, general manager Novianti, who goes by one name, and her colleague were commended by the police for their actions, which led to the arrest of a suspect.
Miss Novianti, 35, and Mr Sameer Malik, 27, assistant general manager, of Samlit Moneychanger, were on duty on Sept 8 when the woman, 75, walked in with $40,000 in cash.
She was with another woman, 50, who claimed to be her daughter.
Miss Novianti checked their identity cards and noted that the women were born in different countries.
The younger woman also kept changing her story as to why her "mother" wanted to remit the money.
Miss Novianti said: "She was controlling, aggressive and manipulative."
She also found it weird that the younger woman kept responding on behalf of the elderly woman.
Yesterday, the police said the elderly woman received a phone call from an unknown man on Aug 22, who claimed to be a police investigator from China. He accused her of committing transnational fraud.
He claimed he could clear her name quickly if she transferred a refundable deposit to a Chinese bank account. He instructed her to meet the younger Singaporean woman, who then accompanied her to Samlit.
Miss Novianti called the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).
Unfortunately, the older woman had already remitted $50,000 through another remittance agency the day before.
The younger woman was later arrested.
In another case, a victim, 61, received a call on Sept 7 from a man claiming to be a China police officer and who accused her of money laundering. He demanded her personal information, which she gave.
The next day, he instructed her to remit $15,000 as assurance fees.
Thankfully, remittance officer Li Fang, 29, at Zhongguo Remittance became suspicious and stalled the transaction to call the CAD. She was also commended by the police yesterday.
The CAD said $3.5 million was lost to "China officials impersonation scams" from January to July this year.
Last year, $23 million was lost via such scams.
Yesterday, CAD director David Chew commended the trio for their public spiritedness.
He 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."