Neighbourhood salon joins fight against scams to protect customers
Customers often confide in hairdressers when they come to the Bedok neighbourhood salon.
But the stories that have bothered assisting salon manager Zakiah Hanim most lately are those involving scams.
Several customers at Vybe's Hairdressing in Bedok are elderly folk who are unfamiliar with scams, said Ms Hanim, 34, who recalled a family telling her they lost their savings to a phishing scam late last year.
There were other similar cases, said Ms Hanim, the salon's manager, who realised some customers did not know to avoid callers whose numbers begin with "+65", exposing them to fraudsters.
And one of the bosses at the salon had a close call when she was contacted by a scammer who accused her of illegal gambling and committing fraud.
When her boss denied it, the scammer lied that she had been impersonated and convinced her to provide her NRIC details for Interpol investigations.
Ms Hanim said: "Our director heard about it and thankfully stopped her from giving more information."
Hearing such horror stories, Ms Hanim readily accepted the police's offer at the end of 2021 to collaborate with heartland businesses to raise awareness on scams.
Salon staff stuck anti-scam posters on the walls during two runs of the campaign during the Christmas and Chinese New Year period, which was an ideal time as footfall was higher, said Ms Hanim.
They promoted police anti-scam quizzes and mobile community alert services to about 200 customers, who were rewarded with goodie bags from the police.
As an incentive, the salon handed out free loyalty stamps worth $100 to those who participated in the online quiz, which educates participants on how to identify different scams.
The salon was among severalsmall businesses given the Community Partnership Award by the police on April 7 to recognise their efforts in fighting scams.
Ms Hanim said: "We are close to our clients and we know some lost their jobs during Covid-19 and are willing to take any jobs.
"With job and investment scams around, they are especially vulnerable."