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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Alert SingPost employee foils Nigerian scam

Mdm Rohana Sarmani wasn’t fooled by the scam email.

SEEING an email from her "brother" at 7.45am titled "Urgent please!" jolted her.

Ms Janet, 52, skimmed through the letter and was shocked: Her younger brother, 49, who was supposed to be working in Australia, had apparently been robbed in Lagos, Nigeria.

"I love this brother and I was really worried about him," the Filipino engineer told Today.

The letter, sent from her brother's email account on Monday, claimed he had lost all his money, his credit cards and mobile phone, and urgently needed a £1,500 ($3,300) loan. Fearful, Ms Janet rushed to the bank and withdrew $4,500 to send to Nigeria.

Luckily for her, a quick-thinking employee at the Clementi Central SingPost branch stopped her before she lost her life-savings to the scammers. Smelling a rat upon hearing Ms Janet's tale, Madam Rohana Sarmani, 52, got her to call her brother. It turned out he was safe and sound in Australia.

"When I saw the letter, I thought: 'Something is not right'," Mdm Rohana said, referring to the location the money was to be sent.

The company had recently sent out an alert about such scams, and she herself had encountered three similar cases this year.

On hindsight, Ms Janet admitted that she was too reckless.

"I just wanted to help him quickly because time was running out," she said. "I didn't realise that the letter didn't sound like it was written by my brother." TEO XUAN WEI

From TODAY, News – Wednesday, 29-April-2009