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The New Paper
Sept 13, 2022
A single mother in Singapore lost more than $15,000 of her savings to a job scam, leaving her with just $17 in her bank account.
The woman, surnamed Zhang, shared her ordeal with Shin Min Daily News, and said the incident occurred on Saturday, Sept 10.
Zhang, 36, received a message from a Malaysian phone number offering a part-time job that paid between $50 and $500 a day.
A photo that accompanied the text message showed the logo of online shopping platform Shopee. The message sender claimed to be a recruiter for the platform.
Zhang replied that she was interested in the offer, and was referred to another recruiter the same day.
She was told that all she had to do was click "like" on certain products on Shopee, and that she would get paid $2 to $3 for every response. She began working immediately.
"After I did a few reviews, they said I passed the trial period and could enter the next stage," Zhang said, adding that she had been “upgraded to be a buyer on the Amazon online shopping platform”.
By purchasing an item on the platform, she was told she would receive 20 per cent of the item’s value as commission.
But first, Zhang had to transfer the price of the goods to a designated bank account.
The recruiter would then send her a link to place an order on the so-called Amazon site.
Shin Min reported that it accessed the website Zhang was directed to and found it was not Amazon's official site.
MADE SOME MONEY AT FIRST
Initially, Zhang did receive a few hundred dollars in commission as promised, on top of her principal sum, after completing a few tasks.
She was then asked to purchase more expensive products.
At one point, she was told there was an “error or delay” in the procedure, and the order had failed to go through.
In order to get back her initial capital, Zhang was told to place orders again and again, with the promise that she would recoup her money once the order got processed correctly.
She was also told each time she put down more money that it would be the last time she would have to do so.
Within a span of just 12 hours, Zhang transferred $15,610 to the scammer.
When the scammer continued to ask for more funds, by then, Zhang felt it was pointless and no longer believed the other party.
She called the police to report the matter when she realised she had been scammed.
Zhang said she lost her job during the pandemic and had to stay home to take care of her child who fell sick. As a result, she ended up looking for ways to make money online.
She is currently receiving financial help from her sister, as she is unable to support her two children who are still in school.
Zhang said she hopes to warn the public about such scams to prevent others from becoming victims.