I am 22 years old, fresh out of Uni and just began my working life with an almost $30k debt because I had fallen prey to scammers who had threatened to harm me and my loved ones. I had at some point considered if committing suicide might be an easier way out, but I want to choose to believe that my life is more precious than that, and I want to believe that this is just a tough season that I will somehow get through. With whatever cash I have when I get back on my feet, I want to invest into advocating & warning everyone about such scams - because I definitely never thought I'd fall into a scam but I did. And anyone can, especially when fear grips you.
A few weeks ago, on 5 March 2021, I encountered a hack into my personal bank account where a large sum of money had been withdrawn. I immediately called the bank to notify them about this fraudulent transaction and they then proceeded to freeze my account. In that same week, I urgently needed to pay some bills but I had no access to my bank account (it was a mistake I had made to place all my savings in one account). I tried to apply for a short term loan with the bank but I was told that it required time, and time was not something I had with the impending bills I needed to pay.
So, I searched online for registered money lending companies and came across a company that when I searched up its name and site, was listed under MAS' (Monetary Authority of Singapore) registered moneylenders. What I did not know was that it was scammers who was posing as this company and had set up a hoax site. I filled up a quick application form where I had to provide my house & company address. I was then contacted and that was where the trouble had begun. The people who contacted me had not been able to answer some questions I had about the loan, and I knew that there was something off about them. So, I tried to back out from the application (I had not signed nor agreed to anything at this point yet), and that was when they had become aggressive and hostile. They had told me that if I did not continue with the application, I had to pay a cancellation fee of $5k, or they would burn my house and harm people in my family. Not wanting to cause any trouble (and because I was rather fearful they would carry out their threats as I had disclosed personal details to them), I agreed to continue with the application thinking that there was no harm in taking a loan I am able to pay back in due time. But not long after, there seemed to be a problem with every small step (eg. amendment fee to correct a mistake they had made in the agreement contract, lawyer fees, GST Fees for the Government, Transaction fees, Service Fees) and each fee ranged from $1.5k to $5k. After each step, they told me the full amount would be refunded on that day itself and it was just a part of the process. Desperate to get back my money and consumed by fear, I continued to do as they said in order to go through with the 'process' to get back all the money I had already given to them. All the while, they continued to be hostile and made threats and were especially so when I mentioned I wanted to call the police. I was so, so fearful and for a full week I could not sleep more than 1-2 hours, could not eat, and began puking because by this time, almost all of my money was gone.
Currently, the investigations with the police and bank are still undergoing, but I have continued to receive harassing calls from the scammers from an untraceable number and am still constantly in fear (even though I don't owe them any money and have not taken a single cent from there whereas they have taken $27,618 from me in total). I am constantly in fear they would look for me and hurt me, and have been fearful to leave my house. I have taken multiple bank loans from different banks to pay off my school loans, but I now need to find a way to be able to pay back the banks on time. I do have a full time job, but my take home salary per month is less than $2.5k (after deduction of CPF). I have recently also taken up several part time jobs and have been working almost 15 hours a day. My father passed away a few years ago, and my mum may need to be hospitalised soon for health treatments. I am at my wits end and each day, I am counting the amount of money I spend, down to the cents. For the whole week, I have been living off packets of bread because I know that I can afford to live the same way I used to be able to live if I want to be able to pay off my debts, but I also know that this is not sustainable in the long run. I don't need a luxurious life, and to save as much money as possible I am alright with eating instant noodles and cheap food to get by. But I am worried as I don't have the finances now to pay off bank loans on time, even if I scrimp and save every single cent possible. I am not here to earn any money, but simply to find a way out because according to the police and bank, it seems unlikely that there will be any money that can be retrieved. If I were to receive back any of my money, I would instantly donate the sum of money donated to me, to another campaign on this site - I give my word for this.
On hindsight, and maybe to you this may sound like I just was stupid and fell prey to scammers and it is my fault, and I do agree and take full responsibility. But at that point in time I was so consumed by fear of the scammers that I fell so deep into their bait and scare tactics, and I truly, am at my wits end because I have barely anything left in my account and I have many loans to pay off. I have more than learnt my lesson about getting involved with such moneylenders, and this lesson beyond the financial burden now, has completely destroyed my self confidence and hope in people because I never believed people would do this. To me, even just a few hundred dollars would help me tide through at least another month, and I hope that I can pay my loans off on time, and that I don't have to start my working life too much in debt.
From the bottom of my heart, I am appealing to anyone who has a little extra cash to spare, to help me out as much as possible and I want to thank you in advance. If you do, please, please leave your name and contact so that I can personally thank you and reach out to you.