I am writing this post with a heavy heart. I made the decision that I will not just keep this matter private. I might be helping someone else from having to go through this.

I speak with my mother over the phone a few hundred times daily. What exactly we talk about? I am not sure.

Yesterday, for just 45 mins, we decided to mind our own business.

At this point, if you happen to know my mother, please don’t judge her or make her feel small. My intention of writing this is not to demean her in any manner. This should be a warning to all of us who have parents, no matter how educated they might be, they can be lost in their own space too.

Someone called her on “Viber” claiming to be from DBS Bank and that he was going to check on her account as he noticed that the account was being hacked. Before I proceed, I have to say, my mother was having issues with her iBanking App some time ago and she assumed the guy was going to rectify the matter.

Even at this point, she was not completely clueless, she asked him why was he calling her via “Viber” and not a local number. He told her to just listen to him. Simply put, she fell for his words. She provided him with her 16 digits bank card number and her iBanking pin.

I am shaking as I write this out but I have to get this out into the world. My mother’s entire life saving were wiped out just with ONE SINGLE OTP and she was only left with SGD 99 dollars.

She realised something was wrong when she received an email that the amount of of SGD 17,999.05 was being sent to Sunita. She called me immediately and I could hear the fear in her voice. I have lost my father in 2010. My father’s last call was to my brother but he did not answer it as he was sleeping. From then onwards, I do not screen my calls. Anyone is able to call me at any time of the day and I will answer. Her panic-stricken tone gave me goose-pimples that I left my office immediately and told her to meet me at Westgate.

That asshole was still on the phone and after wiping out SGD 54,999.06 from a widow, he still wanted more.

At that point, I assumed it was just an error so I told my mother to go update her bank book. That was when I realised, she was just left with SGD 99. She broke down and I am not sure how to make things right for her.

As children, parents always made things right for us or at least, in my case, she tried to do things the way she felt was right for me. When she broke down, I was not ready to admit defeat. I really felt as if I were punched in my gut. This is one stubborn woman, who never once asked anyone for help when things were bad after my father passed away.

I am sure, no one in my society knows what we went through. The days were dark, long and scary. She persisted. A decade she lived and now, she is broken…

My father’s death was unexpected so we were not in a good financial state. My mother saved whatever she could. No one in our society helped us. She put my brother through University and no one knows this till now, I went to give tuition the day my father passed away. My father went into the morgue and I went to teach a rich man’s kid mathematics. I will never forget those days and I know how hard my mother worked to save that money.

She basically became a victim of online abuse. She has placed her blind faith into DBS bank and what puzzled me most was, how come DBS bank allowed for the transactions to go through when someone in the back end should have records that this account holder has never made such big transactions.

I am looking for advices or any help on how the remittance transactions can be blocked.

To many of us, the amount is small but my friends, that was my mother’s life savings. It was all taken away from her within 30 minutes.

Is this how modern day robbery looks like? I do my banking transactions online and via mobile apps. So what happens if I lose my phone? Shouldn’t the Bank be protecting our money? Do we need to keep our money in biscuit tins now?

I wish I were a better daughter who could walk up to her and tell her, screw it, I will just give it to you. I feel rotten…..

I have attached the police report below and I am wondering if I should start a “GoFundMe” for my mother. What happened to her is not fair and I just want to do something right for her as she is one hell of a woman, who will not accept help from me as I am a daughter and I need to plan for my future….

And this post can be shared. Everyone needs to know what is going on around us and as consumers, we can be really vulnerable!!

PS: Any one working at DBS bank can share with me if we can ever retrieve the money?

I am writing this post with a heavy heart. I made the decision that I will not just keep this matter private. I might be…

Posted by Labina Fariah on Monday, January 13, 2020