Woman Scammed of $5,500 by Fake Romeo Tan Who Promised to “Marry” Her

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Woman Scammed $5,500 by Fake Romeo: A Tale of Love Turned Swindle

We may all scoff and “tut-tut” over the many scam awareness campaigns around our island, fully believing that we are too socially aware in this day and age to be victims.

However, this latest incident will prove why these awareness campaigns are still very much needed.

A 39-year-old auditor, Ms Yan, shared to Lianhe Zaobao the harrowing experience of her 46-year-old sister, who fell victim to an elaborate scam involving a fake local actor claiming to be Romeo Tan.

Romeo Tan is a 39-year-old Singaporean actor who is a household name amongst avid consumers of local television.

He is best known for playing charismatic and charming male lead roles or love interests in Mandarin Mediacorp dramas and has been active in said industry for almost 20 years.

Which is probably why scammers see him as an easy target to impersonate.

The ordeal began in December 2023, with the imposter wooing the victim on various platforms, ultimately leading her to transfer S$5,500 to them.

The Breakdown of the Scam

It is unknown as to how the victim and imposter first made contact, but it is revealed by the victim’s sister that she was a passionate fan of the actor for more than 10 years, a factor which probably contributed to her letting her guard down.

(I would laugh, but twelve-year-old me was once fully convinced that I was exchanging messages with the SHINee members on Facebook, not knowing that roleplayers exists.)

According to provided chat screenshots, the imposter and the victim exchanged messages and photos on WhatsApp.

The scam artist, posing as Tan, went as far as proposing marriage in New York but insisted on a S$3,000 payment for a “marriage certificate”.

Strange, considering that the cost of a marriage registration in Singapore is less than S$50 dollars if both parties are Singaporean citizens, but what do I know..?

More disturbingly, in order to gain further trust, he even sent a photo of a self-inflicted finger prick, creating a so-called “blood alliance”. 

After receiving the initial payment, the scammer heightened his deceit by claiming that he longed for the victim to join him in New York.

He promised a diamond ring and a luxury car but requested an additional S$2,000 for a “broker” to process permits and flight tickets.

He even instructed the victim to purchase game cards, providing addresses of specific stores.

When confronted by her sister, the victim had reportedly vehemently denied the possibilities of being scammed.

(You know what they say about the river in Egypt…)

The victim, who works part-time and struggles with mental health issues, unknowingly depleted her entire savings as a result, prompting her sister Ms Yan to report the incident to the Singapore Police Force.

Ms Yan also highlighted that the scammer exploited her sister’s frequent interactions on social media with posts related to the real Romeo Tan.

She urged public figures like Romeo to better manage their social media, as scammers often target vulnerable individuals.

Actor Romeo Tan Responds to Incident

In response to the incident, Romeo clarified on Facebook, stating he never requests money or initiates private meetings. He warns his fanclub, the Juliet Club, to remain vigilant and report any impersonators.

Image: Facebook (Romeo Tan)

He also wrote that he will be turning off or restricting the comment section on his accounts moving forward.

Ms. Yan’s sister, realizing the deception, expressed regret for transferring substantial sums and stating that she had never once thought that it could be a scam. 

This is unfortunately not the first time that Tan’s likeness had been taken advantage of for a scam.

In 2020, a scammer had impersonated Tan and began communicating with a lady in Thailand for over seven months.

The scammer reportedly dubbed his voice over a video of the actor and tried asking a lady in Thailand for around S$1,369.

Fortunately, this was when the lady sensed that something was amiss and did not do so.

Scammers do not stop at local celebrities, however, as with the rising prevalence of artificial intelligence, there have even been deepfaked videos of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong promoting investment schemes.

The case underscores the importance of public figures maintaining secure online profiles and vigilance against scams.

You can visit Scam Alert’s website to find out more about what to do in such incidents, as well as stay updated on the latest information. 

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