Anatomy of a scam

TL;DR – Don’t get scammed.

via BBC.com

via BBC.com

This year, we’ve heard of so many different scams going on. DHL scam, love scams, credit card scams, and investment scams.

Now the latest one that is making its rounds is this:

scam

Screenshot of what Kednrick Ho shared on Facebook via Mothership.sg

In case you can’t see the text message:

scam-policemen-richard-lam-03-02

Image via Mothership.sg

I think this takes the cake. I don’t know if anyone has fallen prey to this particular scam. I certainly hope not. But it’s such a badly thought through scam that it provides a good case study of how to spot a scam. Let’s dissect it for you.

Terrible English

The first telltale sign that this is a scam is the abhorrently low standard of English. I mean… “Policemen Richard lam”. Wait. So is Richard lam one person? Or many? Because… you know… “Policemen” is the plural of “policeman”. And “U have involved in a crime”. What does that even mean? It gets worse. “If i never receive your payment. Police going to arrest u, u will in trouble“. Wah… this one I read liao very the scat ah. Preeze donch come arrest me hor! Hur hur hur…

scam-do-you-even-engrish

Guys. The police in Singapore need to have a certain basic standard of English. It may not be the Queen’s English. But it’s not as bad as what this scammer used. So if you receive a call or message from someone who claims to be the police, but that person’s English is terrible, or worse, that person can’t even speak English, then that’s a sure giveaway. That guy is trying to scam you. Or you’d at least know he’s phoney as can be.

Policemen aren’t judges

Even if you think that you have committed some offence, and the police is really after you, know that there is a due process. The police doesn’t decide if you are guilty of the offence. That’s what the judges in the court do. And the judges are the ones to decide what penalty you have to pay. Not the police.

So even if you are somehow involved in a crime, the police will only contact you to assist in their investigations. Not to tell you how much you need to pay. The moment anyone calls or sends you a message to tell you how much you have to pay as a penalty for any crime, alarm bells should ring. It’s a scam. Hang up.

Trying to scare you into transferring money to a personal account

And even if you really have to pay some fine, YOU NEVER PAY TO SOMEONE’S PERSONAL ACCOUNT! If any police officer asks you to pay him something or otherwise you’ll get into trouble, that’s called corruption. And that police officer is probably in deeper trouble than you could possibly be. Because Singapore takes a really tough stance on corruption.

But let’s say that there are a very small number of police officers who are indeed corrupt. Chances are, they won’t be that stupid to brazenly send you a message with their full name, bank account number, and address. That’s called evidence. No police officer is that stupid. They are the police and they know these things.

Don’t be scammed!

Hopefully, you will be better able to spot a scam after reading this. It turns out that this Richard Lam himself is a victim of this scam. He reached out to Kendrick to clarify that while the full name and address are his, the phone number and the bank account details aren’t. In other words, in all likelihood, this isn’t just a scam. It’s also a case of identity theft.

Hopefully the police can apprehend the real culprit(s) soon and bring them to justice!



Author: CRC

Working on a startup is a scary crazy process. To destress, I write random stuff.


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