SINGAPORE – This is not another sad story of a victim swindled out of her hard-earned money, but an incredible tale of how a young Singaporean woman staged an online campaign to get revenge on the kind of fraudsters who scam her. cheated out of his savings. .
Instead of sinking into depression after losing $80,000, the 34-year-old digital content creator turned her agony into strength and created an anti-scam website to warn potential victims of the dangers posed by online scammers .
Just eight months later, the Global Anti-Scam Organization (Gaso) managed to rally an international group of approximately 60 victims as grassroots volunteers. They stepped in in no time and saved over 5,000 people in various countries including Singapore from losing millions of dollars to scammers.
The team also shares information gathered from victims with law enforcement at home and abroad so that fraud syndicates can be dismantled.
Gaso volunteers, who are based here and in countries including the United States, Britain, France, China, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia, protect themselves by using nicknames only. For example, the founder chose “Xellos” as her nickname after the powerful character from Slayers, a popular Japanese manga series.
But she says: “I don’t consider myself a superhero like the character because people still get ripped off. The best way to fight back is to make people smart.
“When a new scam is discovered, we quickly put it in place to notify everyone so we can put the scammers out of business.”
His volunteers were among 900 victims worldwide who had turned to Gaso for help after being collectively defrauded of more than $188 million in the past two years alone.
Around 50 people here have also turned to Gaso for help after losing around $10 million to a variety of investment scams. At least two victims lost between $1 million and $2 million each after being lured into bogus investments.
His fate saved others
Xellos herself fell victim when she thought she had a second chance at love when she met a stranger through a dating site in March last year, some three months after her marriage ended.
Although they never met in person, the man chatted with her or video called her daily, and even arranged for flowers to be delivered to her home on at least two special occasions.
After courting her for almost two months, the man, who claimed to be a trader in Taiwan, asked the question: do you want to join me for an investment for our future?
She said “yes” and started depositing her money into the joint investment account he had set up.