Monday 20 August 2018

He knew its a SCAM, and he still did it anyway!?

Last Saturday, I was assigned to another showroom to help out as that store had some sales promotions there.

7th month, so it was an awkward experience where sales promoters present were more than customers at the store.

Very free, so got chance to talk to a 17 year old boy from ITE doing his internship at that showroom. 

He told me he will be going to NS next year.

Looking at him, it reminded me 34 years ago, I too was working on the selling floor with Metro...

34 years!!! I feel like a relic!

This young boy asked me which sales jobs can earn lots of money?

I told him what everyone knew - life insurance and property.

Outdoor sales pay better than indoor sales. 

But retail sales can be fun if he liked the idea of managing his own store or department - that's the store operations route.

Alternatively, he can join the merchandising route and have fun making frequent overseas buying trips.

He seemed only interested in making lots of money... And fast!

Curious, I asked him why?

He told me he is making good money selling "charity vouchers" door-to-door in the evenings after school.

Each "charity voucher" costs $12, and for every voucher he sold, he gets to pocket $5.

I suddenly got a heavy heart... I continued fishing him for info since I wanted to keep abreast of the "market rate", those who wear the black hats charge nowadays. 

Turned out his leader, the one who recruited him, gets to keep $2 as overriding commission.

I see... The creator of this scam gets to keep $5 out of $12 from the naivety of Singaporeans and underlings like the young boy. 

I looked at the young boy with a straight face. 

"You know not a cent goes to charity right?"

The boy just smiled sheepishly. 

"Its a bit like MLM."

My heart starts to boil inside. He knew and still did it anyway!!!

After NS, if he joined retail, he will be like those Sim Lim crooks...

Who knows? Maybe he will be the next millionaire getting involved with those MLM scams like Gold Trading or Ostrich Farms...

And if he has explosive charisma, he can even hit the big time by listing his company or starting his own religious cult...

Its all about the money. Nothing else matters.

I noticed my rising anger; I am just as aware as I let my emotion fade away.

I quietly nodded in silence and walked away.

And haven't spoke to this future "black hatter" for the rest of the day.

But my thoughts were not on him.

Yup, its what you all are thinking right now.


  1. Smol,

    Why never talk more? Maybe can try to turn the ship lei...

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      You and your occupation disease...

      Knock your head!

      If someone you just met start telling you how to live your life, would you listen?

      Those "parrots" who start preaching to casual acquaintances usuallt have no clue how low their EQs are.

      If their preaching victims are close friends and family members, and their evangelical messages have fallen on deaf ears, even more soul searching may be required!

      Who would listen to a doormat?

    2. Hahahaha,

      True... Also. I work with young kids. Easier to influence...

      Preaching is damn scary if u ask me. I ask for fun only. I myself see people down the wrong path to destruction also never say anything ... Hahahahaha

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      A lot of people say they "care".

      The truth is they just "say say only"...

      Itchy mouth pretending to be a bleeding heart!

  2. Replies
    1. temperament,

      If religious shepherds can touch boys and steal from the big guy upstairs, I don't think Changi hotel is much of a deterrence...

      Of all persons, they should know the consequences... Unless they are atheist wolves pretending they care for sheep?

      Well, I have a neighour from Mainland China that's a fake monk. Taking advantage of bereaved families who can't be bothered to verify the monks they hired for the wake are "freelancers" or the real deal...

      Nothing is sacrosanct when we worship money!?

  3. Anyway, your thoughts not on him.

    On the ones he coned?

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      When you hear stories of scams, do you focus and reflect on the "craftsmanship" of the scam artistes, their modus operandi, and their audaciousness?

      Or do you, for the briefest of time, start to "accuse" in your mind, the victims as idiots?

      That only lasted until you started recalling the number of times you were tricked by others before...

    2. Ar... That means sense.
      Going door to.door is a already red flag. Anyway, I think some.of us dun mind getting con if we believe there is no red flag la

      My wife used to ask a lot of questions. I told her, u believe it's for charity, donate, think it's a scam just smile and refuse.

      No need to ask so much, so what u can exposed the scammer...

      The craftsmanship need not be too high. Just look tired padelling for the whole day...

      With the young in recruits, even easier...

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      That's what the scammer is banging on.

      Students what? So the victims will let their guards down...

  4. Hi SMOL,

    I have met such a kid before who suddenly appeared and stopped me in my tracks. Told me some sob story about how his family was struggling and he had to earn his own pocket money to support himself through ITE. Said I should help him by buying those 'charity' tickets.

    I asked him to show me the charity registration number of the organisation and if they had a fund raising permit. He tried to counter by saying it's only $10 and I could well afford to help a poor kid like him. I told him my sons worked as a waiter earning $8 an hour and he could do likewise if he needed money.

    I get very pissed with people who try to exploit the kindness of others. And the educator in me can't hold my tongue. Whether he listened or not, I would say my piece.

    Anyway, everyone has his own path to walk. What he sows he would reap. The big time scammers behind that boy will pay their dues some day.

    1. Endrene,

      Nope. He won't listen. You not his mother. Even then...

      But you do what you have to do and get if off your chest.

      Through word of mouth, these scammers must be spreading the "good" word about Singapore and the "bei kambings" here.

      Despite the numerous coverage by our nation building media, foreginers can be excused for thinking Singaporeans don't watch TV news or read the papers at all!!!???

  5. Haha! I'm usually very skeptical by nature. Many times, students have knocked on my door selling all sorts of things - tickets, charity coupons, ice-cream -- even showing me their "certificate of authenticity" etc but I rejected them all.

    There was once I was outside, having a meal by myself. An auntie came up to me and said she had no money for dinner. Brutally honest. I didn't care about the 'why'. I gave her $5, and watched her buy a plate of cai-fan, carefully keeping the change from the stall in her pocket.

    1. Kevin,

      A charitable heart is one thing; to be treated as a fool is another thing.

      What's the point of lying to ourselves that's its only a small amount of money when you realise you've been cheated?

      If one is frequently taken advantaged of in real life, what are the odds the same person won't be milked and fleeced in the arena of investing and trading?

    2. temperament,

      Begging is rare in Singapore as big daddy has done a good job in this area.

      Which means we don't have the "innoculation" like in other countries where begging and cheating are rampant.

      That's why we are easy "prey", or what my Swedish colleague would say, "Blue-eyed Swedes" when we find ourselves being conned...

      4 years in Shanghai and 3 years in Athens, I've lost track on the number of times I've been "innoculated"! LOL!

      But its good. Like those who "lost" their small deposits on those rental bikes.

      These "innoculated" sheep will wise up next time gyms, spas, hair salons "seduce" them with deep discounts by buying memberships in advance.

      Well, nothing is "free". When the business close shop, members will find out who has been paying for the "discounts"...

      These membership fees are merely "interest free" loans customers gave to these businesses ;)

      With customers like these, who needs loan sharks or P2P platforms!?

  6. SMOL, I feel you man. I know a scum without ethics who only cares about lining his own pocket who just launched a very "successful" ICO...

    1. Macroanalyst,

      No wonder some (must protect backside) investments banks, insurance companies, brokers, and financial educators treat their clients as Muppets.

      If the Greed button does not work, just press the Fear button.

      Wash, rinse, and repeat.

  7. Hi SMOL,

    It's a sad circumstance hearing that. I guess that there is inly this much we can do. It's unlikely that the boy will not heed your advice even you try to dissuade him from doing so. This is how ppl makes money through unethical way.


    1. Ben,

      I'm not a bleeding heart.

      And I'm made of mud.

      I care more whether it rains or not ;)

  8. Hi SMOL,

    I've encountered some of these cases, one of which is actually my student. He is not doing door to door scams, but he did something similar. He knowingly sold something online which he knew was a dud. When he told me, I told him how to fix it up before selling to others. But it was too much hassle and he didn't succeed in fixing it the first try. He did, however, sold it.

    Like you, I also didn't tell him off. Teens don't work like that I think. You can't just tell them what to do at this point in time, esp when I only have 2 hours of contact time with him. What I did was to tell him every now and then that when he buy things online, he might be scammed because of idiots like him who conned others. He smiled, didn't argue with me, so I know some lessons did sink in.

    I'll keep poking him when there's a chance. Real change in behaviour cannot be done in a one off outburst, me thinks. On reflection, I think he is also always looking for ways to earn more money.


    1. LP,

      I've noticed the "mercenary" classmates - borrow comics charge, play their playstations must pay, trade games collectibles for profit, sell tickets to parties they organise, etc - are the ones most likely to start their own business as adults.

      If they can convince adults to part with their money as students, then persuading venture capitalists and private equity investors will be child's play when they grew up!

      These early signs of entrepreneurial skills are like a double-sided sword.

      As a former snake-oil myself, I can't sit on my high horse and pretend I've not "sinned" myself...

      Just like those involved in the Keppel/Brazil corruption case; or those SMRT Bishan maintenance crew that collect salary but never did their work...

  9. Hi SMOL,

    You can consider to be an investigator who withhold law and justice.

    "Ace SMOL"


    1. Ben,

      Me uphold the law and dispense justice?


      I'm no Judge Dredd.

      I'm a man-whore; I only interested in pleasures of the flesh ;)

      Leather and lace.

  10. Hi smol

    For passed few months, I notice when I finished work go to mrt station will see some teenagers or some looks like young adult in their 20s waking around saying there are doing charity selling something bla bla bla... I normally just siam them.
    Is like getting more frequently like everyday will see this group of people. I don't know they are really doing charity or what? Maybe is true but I have a darker voice from my head saying where got people now so free everyday go mrt station doing charity? No need to work to get pay how to survive... Me so bad... hehehe
    I rather donate my money to Presidents Challenge yearly or handicap street performers or buy tissue paper from uncle aunty...

    Cheers :)

    1. sy sy,

      Tourists can be excused for not able to tell.

      But we grew up here. We know how charities in Singapore canvas for funds. There's a Singapore style, tradition, or culture.

      Big time is President's Challenge.

      Then there are the weekends "milk tin" donations with stickers to pin on our chests.

      Or charity boxes that are placed at retail outlets near the cashiers.

      Then there are donation boxes at places of worship.

      One thing in common is the amount to give is up to us. There's no such thing as "minimum" donation amount.

      When there is a group of young "professional" donation canvassers, and they act like those promoters of credit cards or insurance policies, what do you think?

      Listen to our inner voices (and common sense).

  11. Hi smol

    Yes!!! U said the good points. Especially the minimum donation amount. Me have bad experience on this. That was few years back. A guy ask me for donation for charity outside at shopping mall, I say sure. Then I looking for the milo tin to prepare to put in my tiny $2. But he said they don't take cash, can use nets. Straight away ask me for $20 donation. Suddenly i have bad feeling, a kind like comfortable feeling then I said I need to consider, he said how about $10? I said I need to consider also. Then the guy suan me said $10 also need to consider? Show me his black face then I just smile & walk away...
    Then onwards I am a very sensitive to this kind of charity. I rather put to school children milk tin or army salvation or presidents challenge. Even those street performers or buy tissue paper from uncle aunty. They don't ask minimum donation & they appreciates my tiny $2 with return a big smile to me :)


    1. sy sy,

      Where got charities "suan" donors one?

      You are smart; walk away with a smile :)

    2. temperament,

      Even if its a big project, having a minimum sum is bad taste.

      Remember when NTU was first proposed to be the lighthouse of Chinese tertiary education in South East Asia?

      Rich and poor Chinese Singaporeans gladly chipped in.

      Towkays donated whole halls. Richshaw riders donated one brick.

      Then there are "charities" that only target high society members only. We know who they are. The last thing they want is to get involved with HDB heartlanders :(

      Very attas; very exclusive.

  12. Paiseh lei... I also shock that I still can smile & walk away... maybe I don't know how to react at that time or i just finished my yoga class that day, good mood want go eat something nice... don't want to spoilt my mood... hehehe
    If normal me will start throw anger liao... hahaha

  13. temperament,

    I'm not so sure.

    They most probably belong to the same syndicates.

    This is pre-empting technique with "false" documentations. They are betting most clueless Singapores would never call their bluff by checking with:

    Again. Would reputable and established charities use teenage children to do their work for them?

    My time there is the school or scouts Job Week. Then there's weekend "milk-tin" with children in SCHOOL UNIFORMS.

    That case where the boy asks for "charity" for himself is confirmed fake case. You bleeding heart you...

    A person who needs more help himself, would he be going round helping others?

    Unless by "helping others", he is "enriching" himself first.

    That young boy got "potential". Grow up can consider gigs with prosperity gospel or as financial freedom gurus ;)

  14. temperament,

    Taking a page from study too much until their brains a bit "short short teh "financial freedom" seekers who don't count property they stay in as part of net-worth, I can also say,

    "If don't count the 4 vices, I don't think I have any bad habits liao!"


    Love Stephen Chow and his nonsensical jokes!!!

  15. temperament,

    Its both happiness and pain.

    Can't live with them; can't live without them ;)

    What's the point of all the money in the world and no woman to share it with?

    CW got his priorities right!

    Every once in a while will bring the little woman to overseas honeymoons again, and again!

    His woman lucky CW willing to spend on food (not eat instant noodles overseas to save money)!

    Better this than to have our dead XXX as money!!!


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