Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Prize Money Phone Scam

We have received an email as of below:

This is one of the most convincing scams that I almost fell for which happened to me over a period of a month.

I first received a call from a "blocked" number 2 months ago, where a female woman who speaks pretty good chinese asked me a few survey questions about my handphone choice as well as electronic products. I was eager to get off the phone so I answered quickly and without much thought. The lady ended the call by saying that her company will be having an electronic fair the next day in Singapore and that my number will be entered for a lucky draw. I didnt give it much thought afterwards.

One month of silence.

4 weeks later I received a similar call from the same woman who spoke fluent Chinese. She asked me whether I could remember the similar call she made 4 weeks ago about the lucky draw. She identified herself as Chen Xiu Zhu. I was eager to get off the phone so I just skimmed through her questions with all my superficial answers. To which she responded calmly that my number won 3rd place for the lucky draw, which included a 15 day tour to America for four people that is worth 618, 600 HK dollars. I was very skeptical but the woman was extremely glib and persuasive. She even went to the extent by telling me that this fair can be found on local media (as they had coverage over it) and I could check the chinese news. She probably knew by then that I wasnt too good with my Chinese and tried to lead me to that unfamiliar direction. She even provided me a link to the Hong Kong based company's internet address where I could find all the information of the fair and lucky draw on it. The link is: www.xinskhk.com. The company's name is Hong Kong Hong Xin Shun electronics

She then asked me to claim the prize within the next two weeks, just by simply providing copies of my passport and passports of my family members to her. I then asked her to give me some time to check it out and she gladly did. During the conversation she also noted my apparent skepticism and spent a good 10 minutes telling me not to worry that it isnt a scam and that they will not collect a single cent from me. When I got off the phone I immediately went to check the website and true enough, the company seemed pretty legit. I then went to consult my dad to ask if he thinks its legit and we both were skeptical about it.

The very next day, the same woman called back and said that I had the chance to either take the trip or convert the trip into cash which would amount to 540,000 HK dollars after reduction of a proportion of money. She kept congratulating me and even provided me more details about the company, because at that point I asked her what the catch was. She said that the Hong Kong based electronics company was planning to come to Singapore to set up shop later in October that year and that all I had to do was to come down to the event and answer reporters which will be covered by the media. Sounds pretty legit so far, as she kept emphasizing that her company will not take a single cent from me. All i had to do was to agree and provide her my name, IC number, Date of birth and bank account number and they will transfer the money over.

These are the factors that made the entire operation seem legit:
1. She kept emphasizing that her company will not take a single cent from me
2. The website she gave me seemed legit and even contained a news result on the lucky draw of which my phone number was listed
3. I couldnt seem to find any scam reports or alerts to this particular case on the internet
4. She managed to convince me that her company was setting up shop in Singapore later in the year
5. She managed to keep me on the phone for close to an hour, explaining that she will never resort to a scam and told me all the company was doing etc etc, basically building a very strong rapport with me, even telling me that I could go to the police if I wanted to but emphasizing that her company was legit
6. The very next day she even set up an account for me under the guise of a hong kong hang loong bank or something and even gave an account number: 0008168959 and a password that all seemed pretty legit
7. She willingly talked to my dad for an hour reassuring him that its not a scam
8. She conducted herself in a very professional manner, so much to the extent where i literally placed my trust in her

What busted her:
1. So it was during the week of dumpling festival where she told me that there will be three days of holidays for her and she will call me back the week after to confirm the transfer of money to my POSB account. So far so good, she hasnt asked for any money yet
2. Two weeks passed and she finally gave me a call, telling me that another personnel from the "bank" will give me a call later to confirm the transfer of funds
3. truly enough another person called me and requested that i hand over another document before the transaction can be complete (sounded very professional)
4. As they probably played on the fact that my Chinese wasnt very good, the other person made me call Chen Xiu Zhu (that same woman) from the company to assist me in the handing over of another document (which makes the story more legit)
5. Finally, after weeks of playing it back and forth, Chen Xiu Zhu finally says that I needed to hand over 4.5% of the amount over to the "bank" holding my money as they were transfering funds across countries. The first red flag. She made the mistake of identifying the instituition that held my money to be government run.
6. The second red flag - A call made from my dad to the monetary authority of Hong Kong revealed that there was no such existing agreement in such a government instituition and advised that it was most definitely a scam
7. A call made again to Chen Xiu Zhu, who suddenly became hesitant and anxious in her speech, insisting that this isnt a scam etc etc. The final red flag came when the pre-existing telephone number suddenly became defunct when I tried calling the same number as listed on the company's website
8. A more thorough check on the internet, I managed to find a very similar case posted by "almost victims" on http://saltwetfish.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/hong-kong-price-money-phone-scam/#comments

Really angry because so much thought and planning has gone behind the many phone calls made back and forth. No matter how sweet tongued and glib these people sound, as the old saying goes, if its too good to be true, it probably is!


  1. That doesn't surprise me. I have received a call like that before and this caller claimed I won the drawing based on the last 4 digits of my Visa card number. As much as it would be nice to get that $2 million cash prize, I knew it was a bluff. I hung up.

    Besides, I Googled the phone number and http://www.callercenter.com came up along with several complaints, associating the phone number to a scam.

  2. Hi,

    Glad that i managed to find your post on the internet. I just had the same situation as you and i happily provided my bank account number to the caller. However no news from them with regards to asking me for $$ yet neither is there any withdrawal been made.. I'm thinking why would they need bank account number for?

  3. I had received an exactly same call.

  4. Hi I had the same situation as you... THANK GOD I SAW YOUR POST! you saved my life... :'( I almost did the trasfer

  5. Hi thank you for the post, I also just received a similar call and it was exactly as you had described it.

  6. the person that tried to scam me was Yang Mei Ling , the so call captain that can tender the 3rd prize to "winners" is Ling Jing

    I came across your post this person Chen Xiao Zhu. so i tried to call their "company" to look for that person.. turns out it's true the person really exist and guess what... the proclaimed Chen Xiao Zhu and the yang mei ling totally sounds exactly the alike ,
    I suspect high chance they are both the same person

    bro, i can totally feel your grief .. the part where you said so much thought and planning has been put into it.

    My only concern now is my phone bill.. fml man

    For those of you who always like to prank call ppl , come on now man.. put your irritant to good use, it's your chance
    Number: +021 852 8193 0687

    trollin , disturbin ? whatever you want.. be creative.
    it's time they get their karma back

  7. OMG tis chen xiu zhu just called me, lucky i saw tis blog

  8. I encountered the exact same situation as you! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. I received the exact same calls. They told me they even have a website www.lottoly.com and their company, Lottoly 乐多利, is having a lucky draw and I won it. It was a certain Ms Zhao and her manager Ms Li Liu Zhu talked to me after I tried to push Ms Zhao a little and asked her a lot of questions pertaining to the issue, to the extent of asking her if it's a scam since I need to give them such a large sum of money (SGD$4600!). They even sent me an email from lottoly2008@gmail.com.

    They were really cunning, trying to drag the procedure a while, so that you will think about the prize money over a few days, and only requesting for the money on the 4th or 5th call so that the victim will be more willing to hand over their hard-earned cash.

    Better to post as much information so when people google they can see this page!

  10. To be more specific, I had only arrived in Singapore with family as expats when me and my kids walked through the Bedok Interchange and were approached by what looked like insurance sales people. Luckily my husband has a good insurance package through his employer therefore I politely rejected them. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of agreeing to fill out my basic detail (name and mobile number) for future contacts.

    2 weeks later, the call came and yes perfect Chinese however I had always been skeptical from the beginning and my responses were always short and inpatient. I asked where she got my details from and she advised 'Chinese Community Directory' of some sort and quickly changed the subject.

    I was given the option of either taking up the holiday to Eruope for me and my family or cash it out. She sounded very surprised when I said I would go with the holiday. She repeatedly asked if all the family members will be available in 'such short notice' (less than a month) and that we need to plan this carefully as once they have selected the holiday option, I will not be able to convert it into cash. I assured her all of us will be free and that we are all very excited to go on this holiday. She then asked for a copy of all our passports and that they be faxed through to them. This obviously took a handful of phone calls back and forth, and at the end of each call, she 'very convincingly' reminded me that there are a lot of scammers out there and that I must becareful not to get scammed - I thought this was hilarious.

    By this time, I was 90% sure it was all a scam so I asked if they have any website or more details they can send through to me via email. You guessed it, nothing - no website, no email address - I protested that she was the one that told me to becareful and that I shouldn't get involved in scams so I'm simply only following her instruction. She sounded offended and claimed that she has not asked me for any money so how could I suspect that they are scammers.

    i could've laughed at her!

    I replied saying that passport information is as important to me as money so unless she is able to provide any more information, I ain't passing any private information through to her. She advised she would try to get her manager to provide this and following that I have not heard anything more.

    I suspect when I had insisted on selected the holiday option, they had categorised me for 'lead' scam to get as much information off me and then resell them off rather than actually scamming money directly off me.

    #PleaseBeCareful #ScammersAreSmarterTheseDays #I'mNotTheOnlyOne