Woman, 70, nearly scammed into sending $31k to China bank account -- but is saved by remittance company

A 70-year-old woman nearly remitted $31,000 to an overseas bank account after receiving a call from someone who claimed to be a police officer from Beijing, China.

Fortunately, she was saved from falling victim to the scam and did not lose any money, thanks to an intervention by Zhongguo Remittance Pte Ltd at People's Park Complex.

Police investigations revealed that the elderly woman had gotten a call from a man claiming to be an officer from Beijing police on Oct 30 at about 7pm.

The man informed the victim that she was involved in money laundering activity in China and instructed her to furnish her particulars and bank account numbers for investigation purpose. She was then told to remit $31,000 to a China bank account.

This led the victim to withdraw $31,000 from two of her bank accounts and visit Zhongguo Remittance on Nov 3 to remit the money.

However, an alert employee at the remittance company suspected that something was wrong. She notified her supervisor, who then called the police.

In a news release, the police commended Zhongguo Remittance Pte Ltd for their timely intervention that helped to foil the scam attempt.

Zhongguo Remittance has a reputation for intervening in multiple scam attempts in recent years, such as when a quick-witted staff member stopped a woman from transferring $5,000 to an overseas bank account to claim her 'lucky draw prize' in Hong Kong last year.

In addition, the police advises members of the public to take precautions when they receive calls from unknown parties:

1. Ignore the calls. Scammers may use Caller ID spoofing technology to mask the actual phone number and display a different number. Calls that appear to be from a local number may not actually be made from Singapore. If you receive a suspicious call from a local number, hang up, wait five minutes, then call the number back to check the validity of the request.

2. Ignore instruction to remit or transfer money. No government agency will inform you to make a payment through a telephone call, especially to a third party's bank account.

3. Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on the website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals.

4. Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and make errors in your judgment.

5. If you have information related to such crime or if you are in doubt, please call the police hotline at 1800-255- 0000, or dial 999 for urgent police assistance.

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