SINGAPORE — A 71-year-old retiree reportedly lost her entire life savings of over $80,000 in an online relationship scam, with the scammer posing as renowned Taiwanese singer-host Fei Yu-ching.
According to Chinese newspaper Shin Min News, the elderly woman, Huang Xiulian, decided to recount her experience to warn other senior citizens not to fall for such online traps.
Building online relationship
She first received text messages from the scammer in August last year, just as she had started treatment for terminal breast cancer.
Under the guise of "Fei", the scammer began conversing regularly with Huang online, confessing his feelings for her and expressing his desire to make the trip to Singapore to see her. "Fei" even disclosed that he intended to marry her.
Although Huang's friends expressed concerns about the relationship, she brushed it aside, reported Shin Min News.
She opened a new bank account and gave the account's login information and password to "Fei". She was then told to close all remaining bank accounts and transferred around $20,000 into the new account.
On another occasion, Huang loaned "Fei" $12,000 after he told her that his bank account was frozen, and that he needed the money to retrieve a package containing cash and gold bars that was stuck at Singapore customs.
Suspicion and eventual realisation
On 23 September last year, Huang noticed that $11,934 had been transferred out of the bank account.
Shin Min News reported that she requested "Fei" to return her money, but "Fei" reassured her that he was not out to cheat her and was truly in love with her.
Instead of getting her money back, Huang lent him another $10,000 after he said that another one of his packages was supposedly stuck at customs again.
Huang even made two deposits of $38,539 and over $20,000 into her bank account, after receiving payouts from two insurance policies that hit maturity.
The day after, she realised all her money of over $80,000 in the bank account had been wiped clean. She immediately contacted "Fei" but he had severed contact by this point.
Shin Min News said that Huang even tried contacting him multiple times via Facebook, asking him to return the money which was set aside to pay for her cancer treatment and chemotherapy.
All her messages were left unanswered. Huang's last message to "Fei" was on 5 February this year. A police report was lodged afterwards.
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