Woman loses S$100K+ savings after downloading durian tour app

2 months ago 164

“I cry every day and cannot sleep. This was my money saved over three decades,” she said

SINGAPORE: A woman who lost the money she had saved for over thirty years says she cries daily and can no longer sleep after scammers stole her S$111,000. Ms Lie, a 52-year-old mother of three who works part-time at a bakery, was victimized when she bought a durian day-tour ticket for Kulai, Malaysia, for only $28.

In the process of her inquiring about the tour, the scammers succeeded in infecting her Android phone with malware, thus allowing them to siphon her savings from her accounts. “I cry every day and cannot sleep. This was my money saved over three decades. I deleted all the banking apps in my phone because I’m so scared,” The Straits Times quotes Ms Lie as saying.

The money stolen from her had been diligently put aside for her retirement and for the wedding of one of her sons scheduled for next year. The scam occurred when Ms Lie found an ad on Facebook for the durian tour from a tour agency calling itself “GD Travel & Tour”.

Ms Lie had taken a similar tour last year and had enjoyed herself, which is why the ad enticed her.

After she reached out, “GD Travel & Tour” contacted her through WhatsApp, and Ms Lie followed voice messages to download EG Store, a third-party app, so she could take a closer look at the tour offers.

Ironically, Ms Lie did not even buy a ticket since her friends were uninterested in going. Nor did she give her address or banking details to the vendor. However, after a week, while attempting to pay for her credit card, she found that she could not log onto her banking app.

At that point, her son, Mr Teo, assisted her in calling DBS about the issue.

What he thought was a mere disruption in the bank’s services turned out to have been the bank deliberately locking his mum’s account, with an officer telling him this was because of large transfers of US dollars.

After the scammers had raised her transaction limit, they could transfer US$81,000 (S$111,000) out of her two savings accounts into five other accounts.

“Why didn’t I get any e-mails or one-time passwords (OTPs) from the bank (to verify the transactions)? What if I hadn’t checked my bank account? I wouldn’t have known that my money was stolen,” ST quotes Ms Lie as saying.

On Sept 18, she filed a police report, and ...

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