Nepalese doctor loses $94,000 to imposter

Nepalese doctor loses $94,000 to imposter
Nepalese doctor Nirmala Sherchand Sakarai's life savings were stolen by an imposter last year. She found out only after the funds had been transferred to another account.

On her 70th birthday, instead of celebrating with a big bash, she was crying her heart out in a hotel room in Singapore.

Retired Nepalese doctor Nirmala Sherchand Sakarai lost NZ$89,000 (S$94,000) to an imposter who had swiped her identity.

The person had hacked into her e-mail account and instructed the National Australia Bank (NAB) to transfer the money out of her account.

Somehow, the conman got a copy of her passport, her future address and even her signature to convince the bank to effect the transfer.

Two weeks ago, the courts convicted the man whose account was used to receive the stolen money.

Muhammad Hafidz Yeo, 60, a former security guard, was sentenced to 12 months' jail.

The identity of the person who posed as her remains unknown.

Dr Nirmala is not alone. Lawyers The New Paper on Sunday spoke to say cases of identity theft like this is not all that uncommon in Singapore.

Recently in Japan, the gruesome discovery of Ms Rika Okada's corpse that had been shipped as a doll revealed a case where the killer adopted the victim's identity and sent messages to Ms Okada's family and workplace.

The 29-year-old nurse was found in a Tokyo storage lock-up, which was rented using a credit card in her name.

Dr Nirmala's imposter was discovered when she migrated her Hotmail account to Outlook on April 7 last year.

In the process, she noticed an option to restore her deleted messages.

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