Have you been scammed or cheated? If a person, whether a stranger or a relative, has caused you to hand over any assets such as property or money to them by lying to you or scaring you, they cheated you. We like to think that scammers are just at the end of phone calls or emails claiming to be from a bank. But unfortunately, you can be cheated by people you know and trust as well.
If a partner made you do something that caused you harm, whether on your body, emotional well-being, or reputation, that is considered a criminal act. If a relative forced you not to take a medication or denied you a meal to force your hand regarding inheritance or wealth, they are a criminal and causing you intentional harm. Seeking legal help to protect yourself is a consequence of their actions, and you should not feel bad about it. If they did not want their reputation tarnished, they should not have cheated and scammed you.
These situations can be complex, and there may be cause for both criminal and civil cases to be filed. Duxton Hill Chambers offers legal aid that can help you pursue both matters or advise you on the better option. It is important to seek a law firm that can advise you in the best way to achieve your personal goal. Sometimes you want to recover your lost assets. Other times you may need to pursue criminal charges to keep an offender from hurting more people.
Perhaps understanding how the law in Singapore treats cheating cases will help you identify what kind of legal aid you need for your specific case.
What Is Cheating?
It is to target someone to use dishonest means to make them give their property to the criminal. This can take many forms. Someone lies to you about a business investment that is a sure thing, and you give them money to invest and then find out that there is no such business. Someone used their access to you to take your assets (credit card, cash, valuable items) and uses them for their own benefit. Perhaps a boyfriend or relative stole an official document or your smartphone.
These are all examples of scams, and you must overcome any feelings of shame to seek legal charges. The only person who should be ashamed is the criminal. If the case is successful, they will be given a fine and may face anywhere from three to ten years of prison time.
Scam by Pretending to Be an Authority
This is called cheating by impersonation. The scammer may call you or contact you by some means and pretend to be a person of authority. They may choose to present themselves as a bank employee or a government civil servant.
The scammer will then use the respect you have for a person of authority to get you to transfer money or hand over assets to them or their accomplice. Some of them may even pretend to be a relative in distress who needs you to pay a medical bill or a police bail. Such a situation is emotional. They will push you to get worried, so you should not stop and think.
Scam by Information Blackmail
It is illegal for someone to obtain personal information about you with the intent of blackmailing you or causing you harm. This can apply to situations where a disgruntled employee sends information about you to scammers, a scammer finds out information about your past and threatens to tell your family/employer, or even someone gets their hands on your personal documents and demands money or certain behavior for you to get them back.
If the scammer has taken pictures of you and edited them to make it look like you are in compromising situations, there is overlap with laws that govern computer misuse. A lawyer would be able to advise you on how to pursue such a case.
Credit Card Fraud
This is a common scam that can happen to anyone. Credit card theft or scam must be reported as soon as you realize it has happened. Your credit card issuing company may be able to help you recover your assets or issue you a new card, but it is important to alert the police.
Credit card theft can be reported even if someone steals your card while you are abroad or if they somehow obtain your details and use them in another country. The courts take a serious view of such thefts, and the person who stole from you can face serious fines and penalties.
Many people who have been cheated by someone they trusted may be pressured into pursuing a civil case instead of a criminal case. If successful, the case could result in you recovering your stolen property. This might seem like enough, and the pressure you face may even insist that you take a restitution payment and avoid the courts altogether. But this is why you need a lawyer.
When there are personal feelings involved, you need an educated and outside view to tell you whether the case is a serious one or not. Parents or relatives protecting someone may do whatever they can to convince you to be lenient, but this is criminal intimidation. They are committing a crime as well. Coming forward with the truth is not just for you to recover from being made a victim. It is also to save other people who the same criminal could have victimized.