I got scammed by an online friend

Anonymous | 28 Oct 2023

Investment Scam Internet Love Scam

Got matched with a Singapore Permanent Resident named Ethan Tan Jun Yao, a Malaysian, on the OkCupid app (Date of Birth: April 21, 1991) on October 17, 2023.

We moved our conversation to WhatsApp at 85407905, and he sent me a video of him deleting the dating app as proof that he was looking for a serious relationship. He urged me to do the same.

Ethan affectionately called me by a sweet nickname and sweet-talked me. He claimed to have bought a necklace worth SGD 4.4K for me.

According to Ethan, he works as a cyber security manager at IBM KL and had been posted to Singapore for work five years ago. He mentioned that he obtained his Permanent Residency three years ago and owns a condo in the East.

Despite my request not to, he shared food photos and daily activities. One day, he informed me that he was being sent back to KL to resolve some "work issues" and would only be back in three weeks, around November 11, 2023. We continued chatting for about two weeks during which he mentioned the "Hong Leong Group (HLG)."

When I asked to video call, he claimed that due to the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) policy of his company, he couldn't use his camera function.

Even though we had never met in person, I trusted Ethan due to our daily phone calls, his words, thoughts, and attitude. I fell into this trap.

While in KL, Ethan asked for help checking the BTO status in Singapore to decide whether to invest in private crowdfunding. He emphasized the need for secrecy.

Out of goodwill, I visited the BTO site at Yishun Boardwalk near my area. Ethan claimed to have successfully invested in the BTO site and said he owed me a big favor. I declined, but he insisted it was difficult to join the "investment platform" called "HLG Private Placement" (www.hlgaccpvtpe2023.com). He claimed to have obtained an invitation code from his SG best friend, Kelvin Lim, CEO of HL Assurance. He urged me to cherish the opportunity and started explaining the investment procedures.

He started to claim that all these private crowdfunding projects are related to government projects and questioned my trust in my own government and its stability.

The process began with an initial investment of $500, which yielded a $60 return in one hour. I invested $1,000.

Initially, I became uncomfortable with the situation and expressed my distrust of the system. He became upset, claiming that it wasn't easy to obtain the invitation code.

I reluctantly invested a total of $7,000 when he began guilt-tripping me.

After two "small investments," he advised me to top up funds to upgrade to a "silver member." I rejected this idea, feeling uneasy. However, Ethan continued to persuade me and tried to guilt-trip me for rejecting.

He said he would help me raise $30,000 for me but suggested that I take up several bank loans. It was then I realized it was a scam.