A 50-year-old marketing manager in Johor, known as Kai Li, said that she was “heartbroken” after losing RM60,000 to a scammer who impersonated her favourite Singaporean actor, Desmond Tan. She claimed that the scammer contacted her through a verified Facebook account.
How it happened
Her ‘relationship’ with the scammer began when she received a private Facebook message from Tan’s official account last year. She said that he ‘thanked her’ for the support.
“I was really happy. I’ve supported him since he took part in Star Search and every one of his dramas. I’m his number one fan. Since the message came from his verified account, I believed it was him,” said Kai Li.
The scammer then asked her to continue chatting on other messaging apps like Line and WeChat, where they began an online relationship. ‘He’ used affectionate nicknames like “baby” and “dear” and phrases like “I love you so much” to win her heart.
After a week of chatting, the scammer asked Kai Li to meet him in Shanghai and asked if she could cover 30% of the trip, to which she sent over RM7000 with no hesitation. However, the trip fell through and there was no way for her to get her money back.
The scammer then blamed Tan’s management agency for “messing up their travel plans” and asked Kai Li if she could lend another RM3,000 to help him with tax problems. The cycle went on, including another ‘invite’ to Shanghai asking her more and more money. In the end, she lost a total RM60,000 before she finally realised that she was being tricked.
Kai Li ended up pawning her jewellery, selling her car and even borrowing from loan sharks as a result of the scam. She said she was “heartbroken” and blamed herself for being foolish and believing the scammer’s lies.
When Desmond Tan was informed of the issue, he said he was unaware of the woman’s story. He was also “sorry about her experience”.
“I’m worried that some fans may not be familiar with the internet and may believe what the scammers say, so I want to tell everyone that I will not use social media channels to communicate in private.”
If Kai Li did in fact get contacted by a scammer using a verified Facebook account, it’s something we should all be aware of—and something Facebook needs to look into more. Facebook says that they are trying to fight scams and fake accounts, but there are fake pages that use “KFC Malaysia” as the page name to lure you to fill up a questionnaire about your personal details—and they are promoting the scam through ads.