From ‘easy money’ to ‘lost money’ – Singaporean loses S$1.4 million in scam –

A senior manager in a local company received a fax from a British law firm telling him that he was about to get an inheritance of $12.7 million from a dead distant relative with the same surname. However, the money never materialized and the man instead lost $1.4 million in two months.

In an interview with The New Paper, police admitted that this was the biggest amount taken through an inheritance scam since the beginning of last year.

The Singaporean victim thought that it was a good opportunity to inherit the money for future business investments. He admitted to media that it was greed that drove him into the scammers’ trap.

“It was easy money, and I didn’t have to put in much effort to claim such a large sum,” he said.

“I wanted the money to invest further but got conned instead.”

The Singaporean and the scammer communicated through e-mail and telephone almost daily in June and July this year.

He said: “The documents and letters looked professionally done. I felt something was fishy initially but over time, it all seemed real. “It was as if I was hypnotised by the scammer.”

How it happened

The Singaporean received a message from a supposedly British attorney, a certain Edward Rae, from Hardcourt Partners in London, a report in The New Paper stated.

He was promised an inheritance of $12.7 million from one of their clients who had died in an accident in Canada nine years ago.

The fax stated: “Since his death, no one has come forward for the claim and our effort to locate his relatives had been proven unsuccessful.”

Subsequently, the Singaporean victim was told to make a small transfer of about $4,000, presumably for administrative fees and taxes.The sum gradually increased till it reached about $200,000. To be able to pay the alleged “fees,” he reached out to family members and close friends to borrow half a million dollars.

He started getting suspicious when he discovered that the payments were made to several accounts in Hong Kong instead of a British account. The scammer also had different overseas phone numbers.

When he wanted to lodge a police report, he was threatened with legal action.

Additionally, the scammer pressured him with tight deadlines to make the payments, saying his funds would not be released otherwise.

He then finally reported the case to the police on July 30.

He said: “I am a manager handling so many staff, yet this happened to me.

“It turned out to be a nightmare.”

He also told the media yesterday that his money has not been recovered.

In a statement to The New Paper, Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist in private practice, clarified that falling into such scams has nothing to do with one’s intellect.

The psychiatrist said: “Most of the time, it is simply greed that victims are tempted by. Scammers use techniques like incremental steps and being extremely nice to lure victims.”

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