Woman scammed out of $80,000 after trying to sell and recycle old clothes, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Woman scammed out of $80,000 after trying to sell and recycle old clothes

She wanted to recycle her old clothes by selling them online, but ended up getting scammed out of $80,000.

Chen Hongcai, 38, told 8world that she chanced upon a Facebook advertisement on Nov 6, from a recycling company wanting to buy old clothes for restoration purposes.

She contacted the company and was given a link to choose a time slot for collection.

Describing the website as "realistic" with no visible issues, Chen, who recently quit her job to pursue a master's degree, said she only noticed something was off when she realised the company sold all sorts of miscellaneous items.

"Thinking back, I realised that it was strange. At that time, I also didn't notice the company had no address – I only saw that they could come to my house to pick up the clothes," she said.

Chen said she selected her desired time slot for collection on the website, but did not share any personal information.

The next day, however, she received a call from POSB informing her that a DBS bank account had been opened under her name the day before. And her savings of over $80,000 were then transferred out of this new DBS account.

“Speaking about this makes me want to cry, the $80,000 was my life savings. I was to use it to pay for my school fees,” she said. "It's so wicked, what should I do about my school fees and living expenses?" 

She added: "I could not believe it at that time; the bank would usually send SMS notifications, but there were none of those during this transfer of such a large sum of money. 

“The bank said the scammers hacked into my phone and remotely controlled it to switch off the notifications."

Chen then visited the bank, where the bank manager reportedly told her that the incident was due to her carelessness, and that it would be difficult to get the money back.

However, the bank offered to credit $500 to her account, said Chen. 

While she admitted her fault in the matter, she is disappointed with how the bank handled the situation.

She believes that the bank's security measures need to be strengthened, as the scammer easily “used her identity” to open an account and transfer out large amounts of money without any verification or notification.

"I only have 24 cents left in my bank account and don't dare to eat anything when I go to school today," she said, adding that she is in "agony".

She plans to borrow money from her family for living expenses while she figures out how to pay her school fees.

Similar ad

Some Facebook users have previously warned about a scam by a recycling company using the same advertisement Chen had seen.

On Nov 2, Facebook user Cynthia Chang warned others to beware of a recycling company called Re-skinned Clothing that requested her to download an app as well.

"When I refused, they quickly deleted the link to this 'weird' app of theirs," she said.

A Facebook post by another netizen on Nov 6 shows the same advertisement under a company named Reborn Tops. 

SCAMSRECYCLINGsocial mediaAdvertising