A check with another person helped prevent a scam from succeeding

Anonymous | 06 Nov 2023

Impersonation Scam
My 81-year-old aunt, who lives alone, fell victim to a scam call. The scam started with a call to her home phone, claiming to be from the Singapore General Hospital pharmacy, stating she had bought $500 worth of sleeping pills. She denied making such a purchase, but they tried to intimidate her by suggesting that these pills could be used for criminal activities, and her personal data might have been compromised.

They provided her with another number (+65 9165 0128) to call on her mobile for an investigation that would take a few days. She complied and communicated with an investigator named Zhao WEN Jie over the next three days, sharing personal information such as her IC, name, address, mobile number, and the banks where she held accounts. She did not, however, disclose her bank account numbers.

During these three days, the scammers repeatedly told her:

Not to disclose the investigation to anyone, claiming it was for her protection.
To report to him daily via WhatsApp, using the format "XXX, report in" (in Chinese).
To inform him whenever she visited the bank, including which counter she used.
They also sent her photos of alleged suspects via WhatsApp, which she denied recognizing, and the photos were deleted immediately.
It was only on Sunday that she informed me, and I promptly blocked the number. The investigator still attempted to call her on her home line, but she hung up following my advice. I suspected that if she had waited until Monday, they might have asked her to transfer money to a "safe" account, as seen in other scams.