SINGAPORE: In a commendable display of vigilance and quick thinking, two women working at the UOB branch in Bendemeer prevented an 80-year-old woman from falling victim to a scam orchestrated by an imposter posing as her grandson.

The incident was recounted at a crime prevention event at UOB Plaza on Thursday (9 Oct), jointly organized by the National Crime Prevention Council and the Singapore Police Force. In his speech, Gerald Singham, Chairman of the National Crime Prevention Council, specially commended the two staff: 29-year-old bank employee Grace Ng and 52-year-old branch assistant manager Jasmine Tay.

The pair revealed that the elderly woman arrived at the UOB branch accompanied by a foreign man in his 20s, who purported to be her grandson. Expressing her intent to transfer $40,000 to him, she claimed it was for safekeeping and to assist with medical bills. The suspiciously large sum caught Ms Ng’s attention, prompting her to question the elderly woman.

See also  Couple disappeared with $32M without delivering ordered branded goods by 200 people, netizens blame customers for blind trust & greed

Concerned by the anomaly of a local elderly woman having a foreign grandson, Ms Ng discovered the man’s foreign student pass, deepening her suspicion. Unsuccessful in obtaining clarifications from the elderly woman, she promptly alerted Ms Tay.

The pair discreetly moved the elderly woman and the man to an area monitored by closed-circuit television for closer observation. Ms Tay, speaking to the media, noted the absence of typical grandparent-grandchild interaction between the two, a red flag that heightened their suspicions.

Ms Ng, attempting to engage the elderly woman separately, found that the “grandson” displayed no awareness of her absence. Alarmed by the accumulating signs of deception, the bank management swiftly contacted the police for assistance.

The police confirmed the man’s fraudulent identity, leading to his arrest. Investigations revealed that the elderly woman had received a call days earlier from someone claiming to be a government official, falsely implicating her in an investigation.

The night before the attempted transaction, the scammer took the elderly woman to an ATM, attempting to transfer the funds. Failing due to the large amount, they opted for a visit to the bank.

See also  Singaporean warns public to be careful after receiving fake RM20 note in Johor Bahru

Speaking at the crime prevention event, Minister of State Sun Xueling emphasized that fraud is not confined to the online realm and urged vigilance in digital and offline transactions. She highlighted the evolving tactics of scammers and the increasing prevalence of malware-related scams.

Experts echo the importance of staying cautious, especially for older individuals who may be more vulnerable to scams. While technology offers convenience, it also opens avenues for exploitation, underscoring the need for continued public awareness and preventive measures.