I picked up the phone and before I could say hello, I heard a voice over the phone crying for help.
"Faster come and help me! Faster help me! You talk to the people beating me!"
It sounded like my younger son! I was too panicked and assumed so, thus I forgot to ask what is his name. I only answered, "you want me to help you, you need to tell me where are you?"
Then he replied, "you talk to the men beating me!"
The man who was beating up my son told me that my son acted as a guarantor for his friend. His friend had escaped with the money and did not turn up for his debts. He wanted us to pay $10,000 in cash. I explained I do not have so much cash at home and asked if can issue cash cheque, but he rejected.
I was very scared & panicky, so I passed the phone over to my husband and let him do the bargaining. My husband requested to talk to my son first before he can do any cash transaction. The young boy who pretended to be my son was still using the crying voice to talk to my husband. So my husband asked him for his I/C no., but the pretender could not answer. After that, there were some Hokkien discussions going on in the background before the other party hung up angrily.
Only then we realised it was a phone scam!
At that moment while my husband was talking with the con man, I searched high & low in vain for my son's good friends' contacts. After the incident, I realised how stupid I was- I did not even think to call my son's mobile number!
When I recovered from the shock, I called him and was relieved to know he is in school, safe and sound.
After the event I went to the NPP together with my husband to lodge a police report.
There are a few tips I want to share with others, if you happen to encounter similar incidents:
1) Stay cool & calm
2) Ask for the names of victim
3) Ask for names of victim's relatives or cousins
4) Ask for the address/IC no
5) Ask any personal info not known to strangers
Lastly, educate your family to stay vigilant and alert!