6 cents left in bank account: Woman loses over $37k to scam after trying to buy thunder tea rice online

6 cents left in bank account: Woman loses over $37k to scam after trying to buy thunder tea rice online
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

She wanted to buy some thunder tea rice, but found herself the victim of a scam instead.

Zhong Luo, 48, had seen an advertisement for the Hakka dish on social media on Sept 2 and couldn't resist the offer, ending up losing over $37,000 to scammers, Shin Min Daily News reported.

"The website was selling thunder tea rice for $7.90 each with a buy-two-get-one-free deal. There are few sellers of the dish in Singapore, so I decided to buy three servings to share with my family," Luo said.

She contacted the seller via a messaging app, and was given a hyperlink that allegedly contained a form for customers to fill in their delivery address.

When she clicked on the link, however, an app called Grab and Go was downloaded on her mobile phone instead.


The next afternoon, Luo noticed that her phone was heating up and unresponsive — no matter how she swiped, she would always be directed back to her phone's home screen.

At 4pm, she received a call from her bank notifying her of an outgoing $6,000 transfer, making her realise that something was amiss.

"I told the bank to freeze the account right away and explained to them that I hadn't transferred the money," Luo said.

"But at 6pm, the bank called again, saying that there were three transfers out of my account that amounted to $37,466. I immediately called the police."

Acknowledging that she was the one who clicked on the link, Luo put part of the blame on the bank, telling the Chinese evening daily that the bank should have frozen her account at 4pm.

"If the bank had delayed the transfers, it could've helped mitigate the problem," she added.

Borrowing money to survive

The woman also shared with Shin Min that the $37,000 lost was hard-earned money accumulated by both her and her husband over the years and was supposed to be their retirement fund.

Additionally, her son is currently studying in a private college and his $6,000 school fees are due this month, on top of another $2,500 for insurance.

With only have six cents left in the bank account, Luo said she had to borrow money from family and friends to survive.

Luo used this experience to warn others against making the same mistake, even managing to help prevent two of her friends — who happened to see the same advertisement — from falling for the same scam.



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