S'pore retiree, 71, with terminal breast cancer, loses S$80,000 to scammer posing as her idol Fei Yu-ching

Fake Yu-ching.

Fiona Tan | March 07, 2023, 01:47 PM

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A retiree in Singapore was scammed of her life savings after going into an online relationship with "Fei Yu-ching".

It began with a text

The 71-year-old Huang Xiulian (hanyu pinyin) told Shin Min Daily News that it all began in August 2022.

Huang had received a seemingly innocuous text message on her phone from a person, who identified himself as the well-known Taiwanese singer and television host Fei Yu-ching.

This was perhaps a dream come true for Huang, as she has always been a fan of Fei and his singing, which could also explain why she lowered her guard against the random message and its sender.

She was also most likely in low spirits at that time, as she had received news that she had terminal breast cancer and was starting her treatment.

Entered online relationship

The scammer and victim subsequently started conversing, and over time, began exchanging messages on a regular basis.

One day, the scammer, pretending to be Fei, confessed his feelings to Huang, saying that he wanted to make a trip to Singapore to see her.

Huang believed him and subsequently entered a relationship with him.

Shin Min did not specify the retiree's relationship status.

The scammer even told Huang that he wanted to marry her, assuring Huang, who is around three years older than the actual Fei, that age is just a number.

Huang was apparently head over heels.

Blinded by love, Huang brushed aside her friend's doubts when she told them that she was together with Fei Yu-ching.

Gave scammer login details for new bank account

Some time in their relationship, Huang was influenced by the scammer to open a new bank account.

She activated that account's online banking function and gave the person the account's login information and password, Shin Min reported.

Obeying the scammer's instructions, she also closed all her remaining bank accounts and transferred around S$20,000 into the new account.

On another occasion, Huang provided the scammer S$12,000 as a loan.

The scammer told her that he needed that sum to retrieve his package, containing cash and gold bars that were stuck at Singapore's customs, but his bank account was frozen.

Scammer assured her that he loved her

Huang noticed that the scammer had transferred over S$11,934 out of the bank account on Sep. 23, 2022.

Shin Min reported that this made her panic and she asked the scammer to return her money.

However, the scammer allayed her fears, reassuring her that he was not out to cheat her and was truly in love with her.

Huang fell deeper into the scammer's web of lies, lending him another S$10,000 to bail him out after another one of his packages was supposedly once again stuck at Singapore's customs.

The unraveling

Huang's rude awakening arrived when she realised all the money in her bank account, over S$80,000, had been wiped clean.

She had just made two transfers into her bank account the day before – S$38,539 and over S$20,000 – after she received the payouts from two of her insurance policies that hit maturity.

She immediately contacted the scammer, but he had disappeared by then.

Huang only realised that she had been scammed after she went to the bank.

She lodged a police report after.

Wants to warn other seniors

Huang has contacted the scammer multiple times via Facebook, and her last message was on Feb. 5, 2023.

She asked him to return her the money, as she needs it to pay for her cancer treatment and chemotherapy, but all her messages have been left unanswered.

Shin Min noted that Huang appeared abashed when she was recounting her experience.

Despite this, Huang wanted to share her story to warn other seniors.

She also swore to not speak to strangers again.

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Top image from Lianhe Zaobao website