Man poses as Hwa Chong Institution employee requesting services for school, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Man poses as Hwa Chong Institution employee requesting services for school

A man has been posing as a staff member from Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) and requesting services such as photography for the school.

Photographer Stevie Sun, who runs a photography firm here, said that he received a WhatsApp message on June 2 from a person who claimed to be a Mr Lim from HCI.

Mr Lim claimed that the school was looking for a professional photographer to take photos of the students, said Mr Sun. After a quick phone call, both of them agreed to meet at the school on June 4.

Although the man’s mobile number started with +852, which belongs to phone numbers from Hong Kong, Mr Sun said he did not think much of it as he believed that some teachers here are not local. He added that the man did not sound local too.

“It is common for me to get inquiries from strangers and requests to meet up,” Mr Sun, 41, told The Straits Times. He added that he also receives inquiries from clients overseas as they may travel to Singapore for work.

On June 4, before the scheduled meet-up, Mr Lim claimed over a phone call that the school was running an event the next day and needed 20 wheelchairs, and asked for recommendations, said Mr Sun.

“I sensed that something was amiss, but I agreed to help him on the recommendations,” he said.

His suspicion grew when Mr Lim told Mr Sun that he had already contacted a wheelchair vendor from Hong Kong but could not reach an agreement and needed Mr Sun’s help to coordinate.

Mr Sun then decided not to meet him.

Mr Sun said he later found out from the school that Mr Lim was likely a scammer.

On its website, HCI said it has been alerted to incidents where members of the public, including contractors, have received phone calls from individuals attempting to impersonate staff of the school.

“For example, the callers invite contractors or vendors to bid for renovation or refurbishment jobs but require them to purchase materials from another company or their own company first,” said the school.

The school warned the public of these scam calls, which are from overseas numbers, and noted that the school does not make calls from overseas.

When contacted by ST, the police confirmed that reports had been lodged.