Elderly Man Attempts To Transfer S$3K After Falling For Love Scam, POSB Staff Call The Police
With the number of scams proliferating in Singapore nowadays, it pays to be vigilant and help out vulnerable members of the public who might be targeted.
One elderly man in Singapore fell for precisely such a love scam, causing him to try to transfer S$3,000.
Source: Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Thankfully, the staff at POSB bank refused to do the transfer for him. In the process, they saved him from becoming a victim.
Incident occurred at POSB CompassOne branch
The incident was highlighted in a Facebook post on Sunday (8 Oct) by DBS Bank, which is the parent company of POSB.
It occurred at the POSB branch in CompassOne mall in Sengkang, they said.
Source: Google Maps
Around lunchtime, a man in his 70s, gripping a walking stick, entered and requested assistance to transfer S$3,000 to another account.
POSB staff asks routine questions in view of scams
Ms Rohani Hassan, a bank officer with POSB asked the elderly man some routine questions.
She said this was a precaution when processing over-the-counter transfers, in view of prevailing scams.
Scribbling on a piece of paper as he was hard of hearing, she asked the man who the payee was.
He replied that it was a courier company that would supposedly “release” a personal parcel meant for him when they received the money.
POSB staff refuse to transfer money for elderly man
This answer caused “alarm bells” to blare in Rohani’s head, she said.
Thus, she refused to make the transfer, writing a note to the man saying,
However, the man became agitated, gesturing in anger and yelling in frustration,
Unsurprisingly, this caused the lunchtime noise to suddenly quieten down as everyone in the outlet stared at what was happening.
Payee account was flagged for suspicious transactions
Unable to get through to the elderly man, Rohani requested assistance from Siew Lay, the branch’s Deputy Service Manager.
Siew Lay and Rohani. Source: DBS on Facebook
She rushed over and read the questions written by Rohani, then asked for the payee’s account number to run additional checks.
She found out that the account was a personal account, not a business account like the man said it was.
It also had been flagged for suspicious transactions.
However, when the elderly man was informed of this, he grew more incensed.
He then declared that he wanted to close his account and make the transfer from a different bank.
Elderly man was target of love scam
Siew Lay ended up calling the police, who arrived and convinced the elderly man to leave with them.
She did this because the bank has “a close relationship” with the police when working against scams.
It was subsequently revealed that the man had been targeted by a love scam.
According to previous experience, victims of love scams tend to be more emotionally charged, which is why the man was so bent on doing the transfer, she said.
Bank staff feted for saving elderly man from love scam
For their roles in stopping the scam, Rohani and Siew Lay received letters of appreciation from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in September.
Source: DBS on Facebook
Siew Lay, who has been with POSB for more than 35 years, said branch staff are the “last line of defence” against scams.
As scams get more and more elaborate, she and her colleagues do their best to keep up-to-date with how the latest scams are carried out so she can protect customers, she added.
This is because she doesn’t want to see any more customers being victimised, saying “there’s no worse feeling” than that.
Thus, although it’s not easy to deal with an upset customer, she’d rather face their anger than risk them getting scammed.
Vigilance needed by everyone
We applaud the two POSB staff for saving the elderly man from a love scam.
As scammers continue to target victims in Singapore, such vigilance is sorely needed by everyone to stop more people from becoming victims.
Hopefully, more people will be alert enough to avoid scams even without guardian angels helping them.
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Featured image from Google Maps.