There are all kinds of scams floating around the internet.
The most persistent, and the most difficult to block, would undoubtedly be those Telegram or Instagram scams, which claim that you can earn easy cash by liking posts or helping brands “widen their exposure” by providing traffic.
Then the scammers will drag you into a loop of buying and selling products that become more and more expensive, before they eventually make off with all your money.
The Cautionary Tale
Ms Zhang, a 36-year-old single mother, was unfortunate enough to fall for this scam.
Within 12 hours, she lost more than $15,000, and now there is only $17.06 left in her bank account.
During her interview with Shin Min Daily News, she recalled that she received a message from a Malaysian number last week.
The sender said that they were hiring part-timers and allowed for a flexible schedule. If she joined them, she could earn $50 to $500 every day.
To boost their own credibility, the sender claimed they were representing the e-commerce platform Shopee, and even attached a photo of the company logo.
After Ms Zhang voiced her interest, another “recruiter” contacted her last Saturday morning (10 Sep) at around 9am.
Thus, her “work” began.
Standard Procedure of The Scam
First, she followed their instructions and “liked” the products they recommended.
For every product she liked, she would get $2 to $3.
After going through this process a few times, the recruiter told Ms Zhang that she had graduated from the “probationary period”—or maybe its just a litmus test for how susceptible the potential victim may be—and she could start on the next phase.
Next, she was to assume the role of a “buyer” on Amazon, and there was a 20% commission based on the product’s price.
In order to complete this task, Ms Zhang had to transfer the product cost to a designated bank account, then click on the link provided by the scammers to place an order on the webpage.
Upon opening the webpage, Ms Zhang would see a receipt that states the equivalent amount of the order she placed.
However, when the reporters checked the link, they noticed that there were slight differences between the scammer’s webpage and Amazon’s official platform.
After Ms Zhang completed the given “tasks”, she received the refund plus the commission for the first few orders that cost a few hundred dollars.
The scammers continued to ask her to buy more expensive products before they would “remedy” or give back the money that she previously forked out.
They also told her that some error had cropped up, or there was a delay in the procedure, hence why the order failed to go through.
For the sake of recouping her money, Ms Zhang placed the orders again, still under the belief that she would get back her money once the order went through…
…except the scammer kept telling her “one last time” every time.
Jeez, even Arianna Grande doesn’t use that phrase so many times, and she literally has a song called “One Last Time”.
Within 12 hours, Ms Zhang transferred $15,610 to the other party.
When the scammer kept asking her for more funds, Zhang realised it was useless and she could no longer trust them.
Suspecting that she had been scammed, Ms Zhang immediately called the police.
In response to media enquiries, the police confirmed that they have received a report, and that investigations are ongoing.
There is no such thing as a free lunch in this world; always exercise constant vigilance, readers.
To know more about scams in Singapore, watch these videos we’ve done in collaboration with the Singapore Police Force:
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