BEWARE OF SHAM CONTRACTORS
BEWARE OF SHAM CONTRACTORS
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Malaysian cheat posed as HDB officers to con elderly in Singapore
Updated article on May 7, 2015
source^states times review
A 24 year old Malaysian was charged in court (6th May) for posing as HDB officers to cheat elderly into giving him cash for repair works. Lee Zhen Ning came into Singapore on a visitor visa and his modus operandi is to pretend to be a HDB officer and con people in different HDB precincts to give him deposits for HDB repair works.
All of his three victims were elderly aged from 62 to 80 years old, who gave him differing amount from $20 to $300 as deposits.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lim claimed that Lee Zhen Ning is a member of a Singapore-Malaysia cheating syndicate, but did not mention which organization he is with. Lee Zhen Ning face a maximum 10 years jail term and fines if convicted.
Many elderly in Singapore are very trusting of the government authority and they live in an era where government officials can act without official documents, which makes them easy targets for cheats today. Just last month this year, the Parliament passed a new law allowing HDB officers to enter HDB flats for urgent repairs.
The Ministry of State for National Development Desmond Lee claimed that this act is necessary because some HDB owners “endanger themselves and their neighbour because of ignorance or carelessness” and intervention from the HDB is required. The government claimed that HDB will use the power “sparingly” and only as “a last resort”.
With the increase in HDB powers, it is likely to have more cheating cases happening in the heartland. However, homeowners living in condominiums and private properties are excluded from the new law that allows a government official to enter a flat without a warrant.
Previous article on March 7, 2015
We’re upset that some of our residents have been the target of sham contractors who claim to carry out repair works in flats on behalf of HDB.
While there are HDB-appointed contractors carrying out legitimate works, there are also bogus ones out to swindle money from residents, especially the elderly who are alone at home.
So do be careful and don’t be the next one to fall for their tricks. Below is helpful advice to arm yourselves with.
To help you identify if the person knocking on your door is an HDB-appointed contractor, this is what you need to know:
• HDB will inform you in advance if we need to carry out works inside your flat. This will be in the form of a circular or a notice bearing HDB’s logo pasted on the notice board of your block, containing details of the appointed consultant/contractor and also the schedule of works.
• HDB-appointed contractors are required to put on their uniform bearing the company’s name when they are carrying out works inside your flat. They also have to display prominently their identification card which contains these details:
– worker’s name and photograph
– NRIC or work permit number
– name of company and expiry date of the company’s contract with HDB
• HDB officers who need to gain entry into your flat for the works will have an HDB staff card bearing their photo. Ask to see this staff card before letting anyone in to do any repair work. Here’s a specimen:
How to Deal with Sham Contractors
If someone knocks on your door and claims to be an HDB-appointed contractor, remember to check out the points listed above. Do not let anyone in if they do not meet any of the criteria.
If you still have some lingering doubts, just call the HDB Branch service line at 1800-225-5432 to verify the facts.
If you encounter sham contractors, make it clear that you are not interested in engaging their services, and lodge a police report if you have been misled, harassed or cheated by them.
Spread the Word
Share this article to shame the sham contractors!
Spread the word among your friends and family members so that they will not fall victim to the next sham contractor who comes along.
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