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Bank officers prevent elderly man from losing thousands in love scam – Singapore News

DBS shared the story in a Facebook post, beginning with the elderly man yelling in frustration: “It’s my money, why can’t I make the transfer?!”

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SINGAPORE: Amid the stories of Singaporeans, many of whom are already of retirement age, who’ve lost large amounts of money to scammers, one recent refreshing story is of bank officers stepping in to prevent an elderly man from losing thousands, even when he was insisting on making a bank transfer.

DBS shared the story in a Facebook post on Sunday (Oct 8), beginning with the man, who was described to be in his 70s, repeatedly yelling in frustration the following question: “It’s my money, why can’t I make the transfer?!”

The incident with the elderly man getting upset with the staff occurred at the POSB branch in CompassOne mall in Sengkang around lunchtime, causing the usual noise to subside as other customers were surprised by the man’s outbursts. (DBS is POSB’s parent company.)

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Bank officer Ms Rohani Hassan handled the man’s case, asking him questions about the S$3000 he wanted to transfer. Because the elderly man was hard of hearing, she wrote him a note that said, “I can’t make the transfer for you because I believe that you’re about to be scammed.”

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In DBS’ post, the first part of which was written from Ms Rohani’s point of view, it was explained that because there have been so many scams, the staff asks routine questions when processing over-the-counter transfers. She wrote down some inquiries about the man’s intended payee.

He answered that the transfer was to be made to a courier company, so they could “release” a personal parcel meant for him. Alarm bells blared in my head. Now came the hardest part – informing the customer of a potential scam. I jotted multiple explanations of this, to no avail. I then requested for help from Deputy Service Manager (DSM) Siew Lay.”

Ms Siew’s part in the story came next, and she wrote that she went quickly to Ms Rohani and the man, having witnessed the fuss he raised. She then asked him for the payee’s account number to run more checks on it.

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The Deputy Service Manager discovered that the payee’s account had been flagged for suspicious transactions. Moreover, Ms Siew pointed out that the account was also a personal one and not a business account, as the elderly man had mentioned.

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She wrote, “I conveyed this to him, but he grew angrier, insisting that he’d like to take another queue number to close his account with DBS and make the transfer from a different bank.

The bank has a close relationship with the police force when dealing with scams, so I called the police hotline for help. They arrived within minutes and convinced the customer to leave the branch with them.”

Ms Rohani’s suspicions were right; the elderly man had been the target of a love scam. Ms Siew added that from what they have experienced in such cases, love scam victims tend to become emotionally involved, which is probably why he insisted on making the transaction despite the advice of Ms Rohani and Ms Siew.

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“I’ve been with the bank for over 35 years, and I’ve witnessed scams become more and more elaborate. Sometimes, branch staff are the ‘last line of defence’ in protecting our customers from being scammed, so we do our best to keep up with the latest scam modus operandi.

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It’s never easy dealing with an upset customer, but I’d rather face their anger than risk them getting scammed. There’s no worse feeling than witnessing customers reporting that they’re victims of scams,” she added.

DBS noted in the post that the two women received letters of appreciation from the Singapore Police Force in September 2023 for their involvement in preventing this scam, they received letters of appreciation from SPF in September 2023. /TISG

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