Unknown caller asking for a loan turned out to be a scammer

Anonymous | 09 Sep 2023

Impersonation Scam

I received a call from a number with +65, and the person claimed to be a Malaysian subcontractor I was familiar with. He mentioned that he had changed his number, and the old one was no longer in use. I verified his identity by asking a question only he would know, and I saved his new number.

The following morning, he WhatsApped me a screenshot of a bank account and asked for assistance in updating his phone number on his bank account. I called him and guided him through the update process.

He later called to inform me that the bank needed 12 hours to complete the update and sent me a notification showing that his details had been successfully updated. He then mentioned that he needed to PayNow $2,800 to one of his subcontractors for tiling work, but due to the update, he couldn't. He asked if I could help him by paying $2,800 first, promising to transfer the money back later when his new number was updated.

He provided me with a screenshot containing a phone number (81597931), the recipient's name, and an amount typical for such work. Believing it was legitimate, I called him for an invoice number, which he promptly provided. I unwittingly made the PayNow payment and sent him the screenshot.

A few minutes later, he called again, claiming that one of his friends was supposed to transfer him $7,000 for completed work, but their transfer limit was $3,000. He asked if I could help with the $7,000 transfer. I informed him that I had reached my transfer limit and would need to check with someone else. I hung up.

He sent me an invoice for $9,800 that he supposedly billed to his 'friend,' including a company name, his name ('Lim Chuan Huat'), and a signature. I attempted to video call him for further clarification, but he did not answer. I asked him to answer the video call, and he claimed to be in a hospital with no reception. I requested a photo of himself, but he evaded and said he had no data, inquiring if I knew anyone else who could help.

At this point, I became suspicious and decided to call the number I had used for PayNow (81597???). A recorded voice message stated that the number was unreachable, and I realized I had fallen victim to a scam.

I urge everyone to exercise caution, especially when receiving such calls, and to verify the person's identity through video calls. Don't fall for these scams. Be vigilant and stay safe.