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Elderly Woman Attempts To Withdraw S$40K From Bank With 'Grandson', UOB Staff Call Police

Elderly Woman Visits UOB Branch With ‘Grandson’ To Withdraw S$40K, Man Arrested On The Spot

With scores of Singaporeans falling for scams nowadays, it’s only right to help vulnerable members of the public who might otherwise become victims.

So when an elderly woman visited United Overseas Bank (UOB) with her “grandson” and attempted to withdraw more than S$40,000 in cash, the staff were understandably suspicious.

They called the police, who uncovered a scam in progress.

Elderly woman visits UOB Bendemeer branch with ‘grandson’

In a news release on Thursday (9 Nov), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) detailed the incident that happened on an unspecified date.

The 80-year-old woman had visited UOB’s Bendemeer branch accompanied by a young man who was ostensibly her “grandson”.

Source: Google Maps

She wanted to withdraw more than S$40,000, claiming that they were for her medical bills.

Bank staff becomes suspicious of ‘grandson’

Ms Grace Ng, the branch executive, attended to the elderly woman but soon became suspicious.

Firstly, she noticed that the elderly woman and her “grandson” behaved like strangers, with little interaction between the two.

Secondly, the man became engaged in their conversation only when she asked for bank transfer details.

Thirdly, when told that the withdrawal could be via cheque or cash, he allegedly requested cash. This is despite the funds supposedly going to be used to pay medical bills.

Source: Narin Bl on Flickr. Photo for illustration purposes only.

Finally, when she asked for identification, the “grandson” appeared to hesitate. She noted that he was seemingly holding a foreign student pass, while the elderly woman was a Singaporean.

UOB staff call the police

Ms Ng immediately reported the case to Assistant Branch Manager Jasmine Tay.

Ms Tay informed the UOB Fraud Unit when she realised the man might not be the elderly woman’s grandson after all.

The unit, in turn, observed that the elderly woman was nervous and reluctant to elaborate on her situation.

Thus, they called the police.

‘Grandson’ allegedly pressured elderly woman into withdrawing money

When the police arrived, they found out a few things.

For one, the man had met the elderly woman only one day before, and was definitely not her “grandson”.

Also, he had allegedly pressured the lady into withdrawing money from the bank.

The man was arrested on the spot.

Source: Singapore Police Force on Facebook. Photo for illustration purposes only.

If convicted of abetment by conspiracy to cheat under Section 420, read with Section 109 of the Penal Code 1871, he faces a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.

‘Grandson’ was enlisted by scammers

The police explained that the case was a “Government Officials Impersonation scam” that involved a “document mule”.

While such scams are usually conducted over the phone, a “document mule” may be enlisted by scammers to help them physically execute the scam so it seems more realistic.

In this case, the “document mule” was the man who played the “grandson”.

If a “document mule” is identified quickly, the scam can be foiled quickly.

Thus, the police credited the bank staff for being alert and vigilant, allowing them to arrest him swiftly.

S$42.8 million lost in first half of 2023

While Singaporeans may assume that few would fall for Government Officials Impersonation scams, they’re actually more prevalent than we think.

In fact, such scams are among the top 10 most common in the first half of 2023, the SPF said.

During this period, the incidence of such scams increased by 15% to 369.

The amount of money lost to Government Officials Impersonation scams also increased by 13% compared with the same period last year.

Victims lost a total of S$42.8 million in these six months.

One less victim, thanks to them

As for Ms Ng and Ms Tay, they visited the elderly woman the next day.

They were relieved that they had saved her from losing her savings.

We applaud the two UOB bank staff for stopping someone from becoming a victim.

Hopefully, more people will be alert enough to avoid scams even without guardian angels helping them.

Also read: Elderly Man Attempts To Send S$150K To ‘Dutch Girlfriend’, Stopped By Vigilant UOB Staff

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Google Maps.

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