Journeying Forward: Stories of Rebuilding and Recovery - Getting Out of Debt due to Greed
Meet Ollie, a 51 year old technician earning $65,000 a year. At the time he approached CCS for help, he owed a total of $38,000 to several creditors. One of the reasons he accumulated this debt was because he fell victim to an investment scam.
Ollie recounted the events that contributed to his financial set-back.
“My wife met someone at a mobile exhibition in 2018. Subsequently, she received calls claiming she won lottery in Hong Kong but she had to deposit money to claim the winnings. I was greedy and believed the scammers too. They asked for more and more money from us before winnings could be released.”
“My wife and I (eventually) used up all our savings.” To make up for the shortage in funds, Ollie used his credit card advances to draw more cash.
Drawing on his credit facilities in the hope of claiming the prize money, Ollie assumed that he would be able to pay off his credit card accounts when he finally received the lottery winnings.
“We lost about $130,000 (of our savings) over 7 months before we finally accepted it was all a scam.”
The Turning Point
“When my wife and I started to accept the reality that we were scammed and would have difficulties paying back, we felt depressed, anxious, and suffered from insomnia.”
We asked Ollie who he turned to for help. Ollie shared that initially he was tight-lipped about his debt problem. Finally, he had to share the bad news with his son when his financial situation became unbearable.
“We did not share with anyone for many months. Later, we shared with our son when we could not bear the financial and emotional burden any longer.”
“He confirmed that my wife and I were scammed. He brought us to file a police report. My son also helped me seek help from CCS.”
Peace of Mind
Today, Ollie has found peace of mind and achieved his goal of being debt-free.
“I have recently completed the repayment plan and feel so relieved to be debt free.”
However, this did not come easy. The first few years on the Debt management Programme were especially difficult.
“I worked overtime to earn additional income and we spent frugally. Now, I want to save for retirement. I have also started to invest in an endowment policy.”
When asked for a word of advice for the debt-distressed, Ollie gave very practical advice.
“One should not get into debt without thinking about how to repay it first, and not be greedy. I am very appreciative of CCS for helping me resolve my debt through a repayment plan.”
We would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the dangers of scams.
According to statistics released by the Singapore Police Force, there were 22,339 scam cases in 1H2023 compared to 13,576 scam cases in 1H2022, an increase of 64.5%.
Do keep yourself updated by visiting scamalert.sg, a government website that shares the latest information relating to scams and provides tips on how to protect yourself against scams.
Credit Counselling Singapore
Published 27 October 2023.