Alert worker foils $20,000 kidnap scam

SINGAPORE - A staff from a remittance company has stopped a 67-year-old woman from losing $20,000 of her life savings in a kidnapping phone scam.

On April 8, the elderly woman received a call from overseas that her son has been kidnapped.

The caller, who spoke in Mandarin, told her to remit $20,000 to an overseas bank account in order to guarantee the safety of her son.

The caller also warned the victim to stay on the line, or her son would be beaten up.

The 67-year-old rushed to a remittance company in Ang Mo Kio to start the transaction.

Officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division had previously warned remittance companies about on-going phone scams.

Sensing that the elderly woman might be a victim, the employee asked her some questions about the transaction.

She insisted that it was not a scam and pressed for the transaction to be completed.

After accepting the $20,000 and issuing a receipt to the elderly woman, the employee contacted the police.

Officers responded by establishing the identity of the victim's son and his whereabouts. After police confirmed that the son was safe, the company cancelled the transaction and returned the money to the victim.

According to a statement from the police, this is the second time the said remittance company has stopped a phone scam.

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

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