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

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Elderly Man In His 70s Believed ‘Dutch Girlfriend’ Needed Money Urgently, Bank Staff Suspect Scam

When trying to avoid scams, it’s always good to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it’s usually not true.

That also goes for strangers you meet online who quickly become romantic partners, and then ask you for money.

Unfortunately, an elderly man in Singapore fell for precisely such a love scam, causing him to try and send S$150,000 to his “Dutch girlfriend”.

Source: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thankfully, he was stopped by the vigilant staff at United Overseas Bank (UOB).

Elderly man tried to send money to account not in his name

The elderly man, who is in his 70s, walked into UOB’s main branch in Raffles Place earlier this year, reported The Straits Times (ST).

Source: Google Maps

He tried to send a massive sum via cheque – more than S$150,000 – to an offshore account that wasn’t under his name.

However, the name of the account holder and the account number did not match.

Elderly man says cash is for “Dutch girlfriend”

These signs made UOB service associate Jenny Hong, 46, suspicious.

She thus asked the man why he wanted to send such a large amount of cash, and he grew flustered.

His replies became incoherent, saying only that it was urgent.

So Ms Hong alerted assistant branch manager Alison Cheng, 55, who came over.

The senior then revealed that the money was for his girlfriend in the Netherlands.

Elderly man met ‘Dutch girlfriend’ on Facebook two months ago

He’d met her on Facebook two months ago, and she somehow made him believe she needed the money urgently for a business deal.

By this time, the bank staff figured out that the elderly man was being scammed.

They then tried to talk him out of making the transaction.

Ms Cheng (left) and Ms Hong. Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

Initially, he was unconvinced, insisting that it wasn’t a scam but love.

This is despite him acknowledging the various news reports on scams.

Bank staff finally make him see the light

After 30 minutes of persuasion, the bank staff finally made the man see the light.

He realised that he could’ve become a victim of a love scam but for their intervention.

The senior then instructed them not to go ahead with the transfer and made a police report.

S$20.7M lost in Internet love scams in 1st half of 2022

Unfortunately, many others in Singapore were not lucky enough to meet people who stopped them from falling prey to scams.

The Singapore Police Force released their crime statistics report for the first half of 2022 on 29 Aug and revealed that there were 477 Internet love scams recorded.

The victims in these cases lost a total of S$20.7 million.

They were among the 14,349 scam cases reported in that period — about double the number in the same period in 2021.

S’pore Victims Have Lost Over S$227M In Common Scams Like Job & Investment Frauds

In Dec 2021, two Nigerian scammers were jailed in Singapore for being members of a Malaysia-based syndicate that ran Internet love scams with a number of victims worldwide.

Be sceptical when dealing with people online

As more scam cases crop up in Singapore, a healthy dose of scepticism is necessary when dealing with people over the Internet.

We applaud the two UOB bank staff for their vigilance that saved the elderly man from becoming a victim.

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

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Featured image from MS News.

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