Couple have 'no savings left' for car loan, maid's salary, pets and kids after losing $45k in scam

The New Paper
Dec 13, 2023

A couple looking to earn some money from selling their furniture ended up losing $45,000 of their savings instead.

Civil servant Singh, 35, told Lianhe Zaobao that he had In October seen a Facebook advertisement looking to buy second-hand furniture. He contacted the company via Facebook to offer it his old sofa.

Taking the discussion to WhatsApp, Mr Singh agreed to sell his sofa for $600 and a company representative spoke to him on the telephone to explain the pick-up.

Mr Singh was given a link to an invoice which he was supposed to show to the person picking up the sofa from his home. He was then told to check his banking app if he had received the payment for the transaction.

"I should've realised that the scammer was already controlling my phone remotely," he lamented, adding that the realisation hit him only later that evening, when he received another phonecall to tell him inform him of the pick-up.

Mr Singh said the scammers opened a new DBS multiplier account under his name and moved the money from his personal savings as well as his joint savings with his wife to the new account. They did this in three transactions, siphoning a total of $45,000 within minutes.

Mr Singh's wife called DBS immediately and was advised by the personnel manning the hotline to switch off Mr Singh's phone and to make a police report. But it was too late.

"Now we have no savings left and can only depend on our monthly salaries to cover our daily expenses. We also have to pay our car loan, our maid's salary, living expenses of our two children and our pets," Mr Singh told Lianhe Zaobao.

The couple contacted DBS again the next morning and the bank offered to compensate them half of the amount lost.

"We don't understand why such a large sum of money can be transferred without our authorisation. If we accept this reimbursement from the bank, it will be equivalent to admitting that I was the one who made a mistake," said Mr Singh.

DBS told Lianhe Zaobao that it had been rolling out since end-September an anti-malware tool to prevent scammers from logging in to the e-banking accounts of victims. The tool restricts access to e-banking from mobile devices it deems as vulnerable or infected with malware.

Compensation to scam victims is handled on a case-by-case basis.

Customers who suspect they have fallen victim to a scam can call 1800 339 6963 or (+65) 6339 6963 if from overseas to trigger the Safety Switch which blocks access to your bank accounts.

The police advise the public to download and install only apps from official app stores. For more information on scams, go to or call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.

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