Woman swears to 'never shop online again' after losing almost $40,000 in tingkat scam

A woman lost almost $40,000 after unwittingly downloading malware onto her phone and allowing scammers access to her bank account.

Ms Zheng said she came across a Facebook advertisement for a tingkat delivery service by a company called Fat Boon on July 4.

The 48-year-old supervisor told Shin Min Daily News: "I wanted to order dinner for me and my sister. This store let us order a week's worth of meals, consisting of three dishes and one soup for $78.

"I thought it was not bad and contacted them. They told me to download an app in order to place an order."

On July 23, Ms Zheng downloaded the app as instructed. However, she was unable to complete the transaction as it kept glitching.

She added: "I even asked if they had other payment methods. Come to think of it, the scammer just wanted me to download malware so that they could hack into my bank account."

Although Ms Zheng did not sense anything amiss at first, she received a call from her bank two days later, informing her about unauthorised transactions made on the 23rd.

The bank also asked if she had downloaded any apps and advised her to call the police.

Ms Zheng told the bank to freeze her account, then asked for a physical bank statement as she was afraid to use iBanking on her phone.

A few days later, Ms Zheng discovered that $23,285 had been transferred out of her account and $16,591 had been charged to her credit card. The total loss incurred was $39,876.

She said the bank eventually waived her credit card bill out of goodwill but the rest of her money is as good as gone.

Ms Zheng also said she learnt how to transfer money electronically during the Covid-19 pandemic and found it very convenient. She has also shopped online quite a few times, but did not expect to be scammed.

"I hope my experience will make everyone more vigilant and not anyhow download apps," she added.

In response to media queries, the police confirmed that a report was lodged and investigations are ongoing.

Ms Zheng, who has stopped using all apps after the incident, said: "I froze my Singpass account and bank account, and I will never shop online again."

Although the police have helped her to delete the malware and reset her phone, she remains worried and plans to get a replacement phone.

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