Woman pays $5 'deposit' for house cleaning service, ends up losing $4,300 to scammers

After paying a $5 ‘deposit’, one woman thought that she had secured the services of a cleaning company.

But 47-year-old Lu Meilin ended up losing more than $4,300 in a credit card scam, Shin Min Daily News reported on Thursday (Nov 24).

Speaking to the Chinese evening daily, Lu shared that she came across an advertisement by a cleaning company on Facebook a few days ago.

She contacted them to enquire on their house cleaning services and they communicated with Lu through a WhatsApp account linked to a Malaysian phone number. 

Both parties agreed on $25 for four hours of cleaning.

The self-employed woman said: “After making an appointment, the company sent me a link to download a mobile app and told me to pay a $5 deposit there.”

She was directed to an online form and entered her credit card number, expiration date, cardholder’s name and verification code (CVC).

“When I submitted the online form, the web page showed ‘invalid card’. I didn’t think much about it since the payment didn’t go through,” Lu said, adding that the ‘cleaning company’ told her that she can pay for their services in cash.

But the woman received an unexpected text message from the bank on Wednesday morning, informing her that her card had exceeded its credit limit.

This came as a shock as she did not purchase anything with that card recently, Lu said.


After speaking with the bank, she found out that someone had used her credit card details to make three bank transfers on Monday — siphoning more than $4,300 in total.

The scammers tried to make a fourth bank transfer but failed when her card reached the credit limit, Liu said, adding that she has lodged a police report and is appealing to the bank for help.

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Despite losing thousands of dollars to the scammers, Lu revealed that it could have been much worse.

After she received the “invalid card” message after trying to pay for the ‘deposit’, Liu said that she tried to do the same with another bank card.

She shared she was worried that her bank card details would be stolen as well.

“Fortunately, after suspecting fraud, I immediately contacted the bank to cancel this card. Otherwise I’ll also lose the money in the account.”

What to do if you’re scammed

The National Crime Prevention Council has the following advice for those who have fallen prey to bank phishing scams.

  • File a police report online or in-person at the nearest Neighbourhood Police Centre.
  • Take note of the website address and phone numbers shared by the scammers.
  • Immediately suspend bank account and ibanking facility with the bank.

ALSO READ: $49 left in bank account: Cleaner loses $330k of life savings to ‘China police’ scammers


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