Thief cracks into misplaced phone and loots over $4K from victim's GrabPay account

PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

One way or another, everyone utilises some form of means to keep their phones locked away from prying eyes.

Amongst the plethora of methods available to smartphone users to secure their devices, facial recognition seems to be the one that most brands are leaning on these days (we're looking at you, Pixel 4).

But for the wary who might not feel comfortable about their facial data being collected, there's always fingerprint scanning, which some could argue to be a safer and faster process. 

Unfortunately for this 45-year-old software developer in Singapore, the fingerprint sensor on his phone failed miserably.

Lianhe Zaobao reported that Lao Qiyan had been out for supper with his friends till late last Sunday (Nov 10). Intending to head home, he managed to hail a taxi on the streets at 1.30 am.

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It was only when he returned home that he discovered his phone was missing. He immediately made calls to his phone, which were promptly declined.

"At that moment, I thought it had been an inconvenient time for the taxi driver to answer my call. After a while, I had tried to call again, but this time no one answered the call as well."

Initially, he wasn't too worried about it. That changed when he received a notification via email that an attempt to amend the information on his Grab account was being made. 

He began to suspect that his phone had been hacked — someone had tried to access his Grab account through his misplaced device.

He told Zaobao that to unlock his phone, either a fingerprint scan or password would be required. Never did he expect that someone would be able to crack his fingerprint lock.

When he tried to change his card details through Grab's customer services, he encountered some issues. As such, he thought to wait for a moment before attempting to access his Grab app again.

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He only realised later on that someone had used his Grab account to transfer $4,151 into two unknown GrabPay accounts.

Lao Qiyan — who had already lodged a report about his lost phone to the police — had to file yet another police report about the illegal usage of his GrabPay account.

The police have confirmed that the report had been lodged and said that investigations are ongoing. 

mabelkhoo@asiaone.com