Category : Articles

SCAM CASE SERIES – FRIEND, OR FOE?

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In this week’s Scam Case Series, we will be sharing a case involving a twenty two thousand dollar scam. Our client was then working as a Grabcar and Uber driver while the debtor was working as a sales associate with a car rental company. They have both since switched careers to other industries.

Our client first got to know the debtor when he tried to rent a car with the company that the debtor is working for. He was looking to enter the Uber and Grabcar industry, and was introduced to the debtor.
But the relation between our client and debtor was far from healthy. For example, the debtor has taken advantage of our client’s good nature to encourage him to rent higher end cars (like the mid-size to large continental cars) for work. They continue to maintain contact during maintenance cycles and various switches in cars along the way. Through this, the debtor was also able better understand our client, especially in terms of his knowledge of his aspirations and financial situation (which was not exactly in good state).

The debtor has also manipulated our client’s good nature in other ways. For example, he got our client to be his private chauffeur whenever he had to go overseas – sometimes even making our client wake up before dawn to fetch him. But that’s not all. On one occasion, he ‘convinced’ our client to leave the car with him so that he can drive to the airport, and that he will park the car in the airport carpark for our client to collect. This does not make any sense, considering that the car was our client’s work vehicle! Not to mention that the debtor did not even bother to pay for petrol or the carpark. From our client’s point of view, he always saw the debtor as a good friend – even sponsoring an air ticket for debtor, and signing a Singtel handphone line for him.

Eventually, the debtor quit his job with the car rental company and approached our client saying he has a lot of contacts from China, and can ship some goods (home accessories) to sell locally and “earn money together”. Knowing that our client has an easy-going outlook on life, sometimes to his personal detriment, the debtor deliberately got our client to put his entire life savings of twenty two thousand dollars in his “business venture” while promising him that he would be a shareholder.

The debtor even photocopied his IC to show his residential address as a form of goodwill assurance for our client, and inspire greater confidence in their business venture. Except that it was not his real address. Needless to say, the investment failed to materialize. When our client asked for some updates on the state of the venture, the client would deflect these questions by saying the “cargo side” has some difficulty passing China’s custom.

He sent our client some photos of the goods to show that everything is in order. It was only 2 months later that he told our client that the goods have “arrived” but that they cannot be sold, and so our client would not be able to get his money back.

Finding difficulty in getting the debtor to pay up, our client decided to engage us for some professional advice. KX-Unit did an in-depth analysis on the case dynamics and came to a few conclusions. First, if the debtor/scammer truly used the money to get the goods (which he claimed is not sellable), he should be able to at least provide our clients with them and allow our client to find other means to sell them off. If he were unable to do that, and without any good supporting reasons, it would strongly suggest that the debtor had scammed our client.

Even though KX-Unit did not take up the case eventually due to our client’s already piling financial constraints, we gave him some advice on some of his other options. We advised him to seek help from the relevant agencies and government legal authorities (like Legal Aid, Commercial Affairs Department, Magistrate Court, seeking help from his constituency representatives, etc.) Suffice to say that as much as possible we tried to advise our client in terms of his current predicament and constraints.

The advice we provide would depend on a case-by-case basis. We are confident that through our hours of discussion, our client has learnt much about the dangers of trusting others. Especially for a good-natured person, one should always stand guard and remain alert to sweeping friendships and manipulations.

At the end of the day, KX-Unit still holds steadfastly to our creed of quality, transparency and integrity. We do not sugar coat an issue to mislead our clients for business, and we strive to offer our sincere advice as professionals. Ultimately, our client’s best interest is always our foremost and fiercest priority.

We hope you have managed to gain some insights from the SCS article, and would like to extend our professional service to anyone who may be in need. If you are unsure of your predicament and need a professional opinion to guide you, feel free to contact KX-Unit at 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com. Alternatively, you can visit our website athttp://www.KX-Unit.com

SCAM CASE SERIES (ADVISORY EDITION) – FOCUS: RENOVATION AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

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KX-Unit has been consistently sharing various scam cases – especially for construction companies – as part of our Scam Case Series (SCS). In this brief article, we highlight a few advisory pointers for our counterparts in the Renovation and Construction industry. These pointers are elicited from our KX-Consultancy database, which we have consistently been compiling for our clients who need our consultancy service on business related matters. The two pointers we are sharing today are 1) Contract Terms, and 2) Business Assessment.

1) Contract Terms
In the event of dispute, we advise our client primarily on the appropriate and available channels (through legal means) to settle the dispute, such that the issue can be resolved in a fair and efficient manner. Some of the more common manners include arbitration and mediation. Many private companies, whose role is to advance an amicable settlement on your behalf, offer these services.
It is also important to have an Agreeable Payment term, to ensure non-ambiguity and clear contractual liabilities and responsibilities. Progressive payment terms, for example, ensure a fair percentage to be paid out at various sages, or any necessary fair upfront payments so that suppliers and smaller companies have something to work with. This is especially so for smaller construction and renovation companies, who may not have the luxury of a large margin of error due to their economic constraints. For example, their companies’ cash flow system may be paralyzed by a single delay in payment from their counterpart, especially if the terms and conditions in the Agreeable Payment term are unclear. Often, the cost of labor and raw materials would have to be borne by the smaller and less resources-rich companies for a long time before they are able to receive payment. This process may be debilitating for the smaller company’s development and survival.

2) Business Assessment
Business Assessment is also something you can do before jumping into new business propositions. You can check on a company’s track record, for example, whether or not they are consistent and stable paymasters. Also, various open source information on companies’ balance sheets are useful for analysis. Some of these details on a company’s track record can be acquired through legal channels like ACRA. However, these data may not be meaningful unless they have been rigorously analyzed and corroborated with other sources. Various business consultancy firms (including KX-Unit) offer services to help our clients with their assessment. As for KX-Unit, we provide systematic information and also analysis on Anti-Scam Assessment for our clients. Till date, KX-Unit has helped more than 20 clients in their assessment on new business propositions, and in a few of them successfully helped our clients avoid a potential business mis-step.

Nonetheless, you can look out for industry veterans in your field to get more information on particular groups of people or companies. If you ask the right person, you may be able to get wind of a list of blacklisted “business” people or companies, information that you may otherwise find difficult to find online. Well, given our ‘kiasu’ culture in Singapore, it might actually make perfect (financial) sense to say that sourcing for the free option to get information might actually be your best bet after all!
Jokes aside, KX-Unit sincerely hopes that this short edition has provided crucial information for our counterparts in the renovation and construction industry. Because business propositions are no small matter, and if you consider that some information (which is not known to you then) can potentially avert a grave corporate disaster, it might actually make more business sense to seek a professional opinion.

KX-Unit warmly extends our professional services to you, our expertise and exposure to countless complex cases of debt has provided us with a critical understanding on various trends typical to a particular industry. Objective analysis on business owners and their temperaments through various sources are also part of our KX-Consultancy initiative. So, feel free to contact KX-Unit at 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com. Alternatively, you can visit our website athttp://www.KX-Unit.com

DEBTOR’S SPOTLIGHT: THE FITNESS SIDE-STEPPER

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This week’s Debtor’s Spotlight will focus on a case of a Wellness Company’s “owner”. As the inverted commas suggest, the debtor is not the owner of the company, as he claims. On the other hand, our client is relatively young and new to the business world. This made him as easy target for the debtor to entice.

Our client first started out as a Training Instructor with the debtor’s “company”. He did not know that the debtor was like him also working for another person. But as the debtor effectively managed the entire operations of the company, he was able to put up the façade. Additionally, the debtor managed the salary transfers to our client, bolstering the legitimacy of the façade.
Knowing that our client is not earning much as a new instructor, he pitched an investment opportunity to our client. He did so after hearing of our client’s mini side-projects in selling nutritional products online. The debtor was so adamant to get an “investment” from our client that he even formulated various “investment schemes” to sway our client, who did not have much savings.

It was planned such that a higher initial investment will yield a disproportionately greater return and share hold for our client. In other words, it would not make sense to invest a sum of Seven thousand vis-à-vis a sum of Nine thousand, which would provide a significantly higher yield.

With that, our client took out his entire life savings of Nine thousand for the investment, sincerely hoping that the decision would provide not just a better yield but also allow him to actually be involved in a business as a shareholder.
Little did he know that his youthful ambitions were about to be thwarted and manipulated by the debtor, and that the so-called “opportunities” that he was given was but a sham.

After a month investing in the debtor’s “company”, he began to notice that the debtor did not turn up for work as often, and whenever he did he would avoid our client. When he did bump into our client the debtor would say he is busy processing the share transfers and managing his other associates new branches.

But our client sensed something was not right when he saw another person rebuking the debtor in a corner of the wellness centre, which did not make a lot of sense if he were the boss. It was with such conditions that our client approached the debtor to ask for proof of his share hold.

The debtor tried to act busy initially but when he realized that our client was insistent, he stopped going to work. Our client texted and called him on his phone but to no avail. A week later when he tried, he suspected that the debtor may have blocked him, even his calls stopped going through.

Our client being desperate went to his house to search for the debtor. But the first things the debtor said was that he had “associations” with various powerful secret society people, and warned him against coming to his house in future. He told our client that he will “settle this once and for all” and produced a screenshot of an Internet transfer of funds to show that he has returned the money to our client. The conversation ended that way.

But our client did not receive the money back when he checked, and checks with the bank revealed that no such transfers were made. When he showed the bank staff the screenshot, he was told that the screenshot was not a confirmation of transfer but of a pre-confirmation.

By this time, our client was exhausted and sick of the games the evasive debtor was playing. He was also unsure if the debtor’s so-called rogue “associations” would one day knock on his door, and he was not about to risk it at the expense of his family, especially so considering his younger sister.

KX-Unit was thus called in to recover the debt from the debtor. We had an intensive session with the client to understand the case. Our preliminary findings revealed that the documents provided by the debtor were either haphazardly put together or simply amateurish template copies that could be found online with some effort. This was in sharp contrast to the other scam cases we undertook, where comprehensive contracts and paperwork were involved.

We came to a conclusion that the debtor was not actually a professional scammer and was simply taking advantage of our client’s young age and ambition. Having heard our client share a timeline of his encounter with the debtor and the things that they have talked about, our conclusion was corroborated.

The staffs at KX-Unit provided advice to our client, such that if our client or his family was ever in danger he could reach to appropriate assistance. While this was certainly an added assurance for our client, but we also told him that he should call for law enforcement entities first, and that our staff would be there to provide support.

With that, we proceeded to serve the Letter of Demand to the debtor. He did not open the door but it was clear that he was there. We did not want to spoil the dynamics of the negotiation and left the Letter at the door instead.

We followed up on the next visit with calls but the debtor continued to claim ignorance. His tactics were so amateurish that he even impersonated another person to say that this number has already been changed and that the debtor was no longer using the number.

Having expected these evasive tactics, we tried to engage another dialogue with the debtor again. This time, he appeared at the door. Seeing his young children behind, we gave him the gentlemanly option of engaging the discussion with us below his house or just at his door. He chose to speak to us below the house, and we complied.

Perhaps it was this sensitivity to the debtor’s circumstance that made our soft approach work, but our confidence in the case was key. KX-Unit’s expertise and experience from other cases have allowed us to call the debtor’s bluff, and the disposition we adopted has also helped.

But at the end of the day, even to the young aspiring investors/entrepreneurs out there, be extra careful with what you reveal. There are unethical people out there who will take full liberties with your information.

And if you ever require any professional advice with your circumstance, you can make enquires by heading to our website http://www.KX-Unit.com/ or email us at enquires@KX-Unit.com or call us @ h/p: +65 8112 7790 and we will be most willing to assist.

C.J. Bervyn
Columnist

DEBTOR’S SPOTLIGHT – THE LUKEWARM DEBTOR

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This is a case that KX-Unit have taken on a few months ago. Our client, a man in his 40s, had issues recovering a debt from a friend.

About a year ago, our client has responded to a debtor’s plea for an “urgent loan”. The debtor is a female in her late 30s, and she knew our client from their previous company. Besides working in the same department, they both fostered a strong friendship over itme and frequently shares with each other about their unhappiness and grievances at home. However, their relation remained platonic.

Shortly after our client left the company, the debtor also left. They then pursued their own interests and found jobs in other sectors, and in that period of time they did not keep in contact, until last year when the debtor texted our client.
Our client was told that she needed an urgent loan of $20,000 for her family. When probed further by our client, she revealed that it was something that could break her family and her reputation. Looking at the trust and friendship they had, our client did not probe further even though the reason did not seem adequate, and transferred the money to her.

In that moment, there was an understanding that the money would be returned whenever she was able to. Our client also took into consideration the debtor’s difficult family relations when he gave the loan. Unlike the usual debtor, the she demonstrated initiative and even wrote a letter or a contract after receiving the loan to show that she has taken the money and will return it. This letter is signed by both our client and the debtor as a form of mutual assurance.

But since then, our client’s attempt to recover the loan has been largely unsuccessful. Not because the debtor is unwilling to pay or that she is evasive (although this may be a contributing factor), but rather the fact that our client does not want to “overly stress” or cause her undue duress.

The most that he has gone in terms of trying to recover the debt was when he texted her again a few months later to ask if she is able to repay the debt soon. She replied that she was still “struggling” and would need at least 2 more months.
Hearing this, our client decided to wait another two more months before approaching her. This time they met up at a café and even though our client needed to recover his money from her, the conversation and the dynamics of their friendship proved challenging.
It was at this point that our client approached us. For us at KX-Unit, we followed up with this case of personal debt professionally. We know the challenges of our client and we know the sensitivities of the debtor’s family.
What was unique in this case was that it is not yet clear that the debtor is unwilling to pay, it was just that the dynamics between our client and the debtor makes it difficult for him to recover the debt by himself.

The staffs at KX-Unit sat with our client and we identified some of the more consistent characteristics of the debtor, we also got our client’s opinion on the various sensitivities that were needed in approaching the debtor. In general, we acted in a low-profile manner on behalf of our client as a simple issue like providing a loan to a lady might be blown to proportion by either sides of the family.

KX-Unit started by using emails to reach the debtor. She responded rather swiftly and eventually decided to text the number that we provided her. We had our negotiation mostly online, both as a way for us to still keep track and hold her accountable to her words. This approach was unique because most conventional debt recovery negotiation involves mostly face to face interaction.
Still, we met the debtor a few times, mainly to hand her the Letter of Demand and various other contractual agreements. On behalf of our client, we were able to tease out the various complicating factors which made the debtor less forthcoming in repayment, and also better understand her motivations in taking the loan in the first place.

In fact, we were able to provide our client with an assurance that his loan has helped the debtor quite “significantly” in her trying period. And her commitment to a reasonable installment plan for repayment through KX-Unit has been effective thus far.
While this case may not be highly complex, it does require a certain level of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and sensitivity to handle. Our main interest in this case was to handle it in a delicate way, such that there would be no reason for any antagonism to arise. For example, during our meetings with the debtor we paid attention to what we wore, mostly pastel coloured shirts rather than our usual jet black. We had strategic briefings with our negotiators prior to the meeting to ensure that we have the right disposition and send the right message. Being versatile and flexible is one of our strong suit, and we remain commited to a quality service to serve our client’s best interest.

The dynamism of human relations require a dynamic and versatile approach. And for KX-Unit, we demonstrate our quality by customising our recovery approach to something that our client would be comfortable with. But that said it depends on the viability of the approach. It is in cases like this that we remind ourselves of our duty to uphold a principle that a debt needs to be paid, and also that goodwill shall be reciprocated accordingly, and vice versa.

Some of us may be in a situation similar to the case above, and if you do need any advice on the way forward, KX-Unit is willing to help. Besides the rigorous selection of socially aware and skilled staffs, and we adopt a customized approach (like the one above) to help our client achieve their desired goals, in a firm but sensitive manner. If you need any professional advice, or if you have friends who does, you can make enquires by heading to our website http://www.KX-Unit.com/ or email us at enquires@KX-Unit.com or call us @ h/p: +65 8112 7790 and we will be most willing to assist.

KX-GUARDIANSHIP

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It has been a busy but fulfilling start to the week indeed. We all have ups and downs in life, but how we prepare and train ourselves will eventually have a bearing on the results we receive. A recent case of about $600,000 is a breakthrough for KX-Unit, especially for this complicated case. It is as if the days (and countless nights burning midnight oil) have finally paid off.

Anyway, in such a case, where such a large transaction was involved, the commitment and trust involved will be critical. The collection process will also understandably be quite complex and difficult. Just imagine sitting an evasive and uncooperative debtor down for a proper negotiation.

Generally, to handle a case, especially of such a scale, would require our client to have immense faith and trust in us. Often, when a debtor is comfortable only with paying in large sums of cash, we have to cater to the request and manage it as such. This means our client must be comfortable knowing that the staffs at KX-Unit are reliable and trustworthy individuals, and that KX-Unit has a credible and transparent system in place to manage payments, regardless of the sum.

In fact, it is not easy for some of our clients who have had the trust betrayed by debtors. But we at KX-Unit have created an environment of transparency by demonstrating proper bookkeeping and flow of money. Remaining accountable to our clients is part of what we do at KX-Unit to demonstrate our commitment to quality service.

In some sense, we see ourselves as guardians of our client’s interest and money. You can find more details about our services at http://www.KX-Unit.com/. Feel free to direct any queries to us at KX-Unit at +65 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com.

Cheers!

OPERATIONAL INSIGHTS – KX-DISPOSITION

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In this week’s Operational Insights, we will be sharing some of the psychological challenges and pressure the staffs at KX-Unit have to endure and overcome. As most of you would know by now, conventional debt recovery can be fraught with many challenges for us, including having to deal with evasive and uncooperative debtors on a daily basis. This article will share the types of pressures we face at work, and also share how we deal with these pressures in a way that ensures we remain tip-top and quality focused for our client’s best interest. Our Professional Disposition, or mentality is crucial in our work.

In our niche industry, the people we choose, train, and nurture have to be able to withstand psychological pressures on a daily basis. We face pressure primarily from the debtors, clients and in some occasions, from law enforcement entities.

**Mental Pressure**
For debtors, there are various kinds. In fact, we have shared some of the usual types in our various Debtor Spotlight articles. Some of them may be more aggressive than others, some are less honest and forthcoming with their details, some are blatantly uncooperative, and the list goes on.

If a debtor is evasive, we have to invest greater time and effort to locate him. And some debtors can go to great lengths to evade us, when all we intended is to have a dialogue and conversation. Some debtors are also fond of giving nonsensical-excuses that undercut our effort to have a conducive discussion. For example, whenever we ask them why they do not want to re-pay the sum they owe, they would reply: “Oh I just do not want to pay lor. No reason. I just feel like today I do not feel like paying or talking.”
These are parts of some debtors’ strategy to taunt the staffs at KX-Unit. It is almost as if some debtors are waiting for us to take one wrong step before pouncing on us! But we at KX-Unit are very clear of our duty, job and purpose. If we need to reprimand a debtor to make him realize his mistake, we do so; but not in a way that seeks to prove we are morally upright, but rather to make the debtor conscious of his responsibility and obligations. And correspondingly, we will delicately adjust our approach – basically using a dynamic emotional approach (Hot and cold) to the issue, to ultimately bring the debtor back to the negotiation table. The staffs at KX-Unit are highly aware of their emotional states, and we make it a point to focus on the objectivity rather than the subjectivity of the situation – and objectivity simply means our client’s most advantageous and realistic situation.

That said some of our mental pressures are actually from our clients as well, especially from some of the requests. Most of our valued clients actually understand that even if they want to recover their money back, they have to be realistic, and being realistic sometimes means that they are open to alternative modes of payment (like installments), an appropriate discounted sum of payment for valid dispute, and much more. For us, having this common understanding with our client is important because it provides a means for us to approach the debtor dynamically.

Yet there are some clients who may have unrealistic timeframe of the debt collection timeframe, unrealistic expectation of the debtor’s installment sum (even when they debtor has already shown full commitment and concrete proof that he is repaying in the most sustainable manner), and clients who do not respond at crucial points of our negotiation with the debtor despite being given a heads up. Generally, such clients are rare, and most of our clients empathize with the difficulty we face on the field.
Last, we have pressure from law enforcement entities. Some of the law enforcement officers may choose to side with the debtor without prior knowledge of the case, or without the most informed facts, and this creates additional pressure for us because we have to re-establish the rightful position of our client. Fortunately, this does not happen often as most of our law enforcement officers and entities are highly professional individuals.

**Keep It Cool**
We have shared our pressures at work, and we’re sure everyone will have their own fair share of work pressure. While I’m sure some of you think we debt collectors drink a lot to de-stress, this is not totally true for us at KX-Unit. Actually, we make a distinction between relaxing during work and relaxing after work.

For example, Case Consultant Winston Chin would rather choose to spend time with his family by cooking with his wife when he is able to go home early and reading with his son. After all, they are the reason he is working so hard. Some of our Negotiators go for fishing sessions or after work just mingling and play some electronic dart games. But during work, we are de-stress by giving our mind a break – looking at the greens, doing some push ups, taking a walk, and even breathing exercises. To make sure they are mentally prepared before the next case. Most of these de-stressing methods are scientifically proven, they are simple and they work for us.

We hope you learn a bit more about our industry in a general, and more about KX-Unit. Should you have any queries, or if you do know someone that may have such a need, feel free to contact KX-Unit +65 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com if you have any queries on this case or our services, and we will be most willing to advise. Alternatively, you may visit our website at http://www.KX-Unit.com/.

C.J. Bervyn
Columnist

GOING THE EXTRA MILE

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A wefie we have with one of our client, Mr Charles Lai, whom we have just finish a appointment with him since 4am. Due to the situation cause by his debtor, he have to work long hours job (from 11am to 4am) on a daily basis to make ends meet.

Its rarely any client would request a company’s representative to meet them up 4am in the morning, but when our Associate Consultant Jet Guo learns of Charles situation, he knows that its a basic commitment to go beyond the line of duty to assist our client.

CDA E.E.D (EVASIVE & ERRANT DEBTOR)

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The case we are sharing this week is a Claims and Dispute Management case, as referenced in our previous Debtor’s Spotlight post. The debtor (Mr X) is the person of focus, arguably also the owner of a construction company.
He owes our client, who is the sub-contractor, forty thousand dollars as the final installment. Our client has exhausted all options in recovering the debt but to no avail, as Mr X, the debtor, had been evasive.

Despite our client using emails, calls, messages, and even going down physically, Mr X still managed to evade. In one instance, our client successfully caught up with him. Knowing he had no place to run, he told our client calmly that he needs to use the toilet first and after that he will write our client a cheque to “pay off” the debt.

But no, he slipped away via an emergency staircase landing. And naturally our client did not anticipate that. The next time our client saw him, he literally jumped up and ran away. That said, here we are not dealing with just an evasive debtor.

Mr X was also a very shrewd and cunning businessman. For example, his businesses are registered under the name of a young female Chinese national, as a sole proprietorship. This was an industry anomaly because the type of money involved in construction projects simply made sole proprietorship a dangerous liability. And a sensible businessperson would not do this, allowing us to extrapolate that the Chinese national was just a person through which Mr X maintained his business. Of course there is a real possibility that this is the truth, but corroborated this with the other factors and the evidence seem to say otherwise.
For example, Mr X has two businesses, one for receiving contracts and the other for giving payments, which is also suspicious. After all, why would he need two business entities for the same business contract? Plus the business acumen, resources, and monitoring capabilities for a business that scale is going to be quite daunting too.

Upon engaging KX-Unit, we got up to speed quickly with our client’s information and description. We brought all the information to our strategy boards – including facts, verifications, invoices, construction work schedules, and even the floor plans, etc. – just in case.

If the debtor can run away from you, in front of you, there is every reason to believe he will attempt to dispute the very evidence presented to him. And that was the mindset that the staffs at KX-Unit had adopted. By the third day of our preliminary engagement, the strategy board in our office was almost filled. Not just with facts and contracts for our negotiations, but also with our strategies – from plan A to D. We have verified our information and we were ready for the negotiation.

We engaged him by trying to seek dialogue with him, and when he was not available we turned to the private estate that was rented under the Chinese national’s name and that led us to his other worker and finally to Mr X himself. And when we finally spoke to him, he denied everything. Even saying that he was a “victim” because his client did not pay him, something we later found to be untrue from the fourth party (our debtor’s client), and we kept evidence of that statement via our body camera.
During our most recent conversation, when he realized his pity cards were simply not going to work, he said: “if not happy, come sue me”. And he did so with his workers standing behind him, almost as a subtle threat to us there and then.

But the staffs at KX-Unit know what we need to do. We had to be firm and remain professional. After all, our minds are always on our client’s best interest, and we were not going to jeopardise that. We train our people – our assets – to rise above these taunts.
Your interest is our top priority at KX-Unit. If you do require a professional opinion on your own situation, or if you do know someone that may have such a need, feel free to contact KX-Unit at +65 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com if you have any queries on this case or our services, and we will be most willing to advise. Alternatively, you may visit our website at http://www.KX-Unit.com/.

OPERATIONAL INSIGHTS – THE KX – 3 ‘P’S NEGOTIATION METHODS: PATIENCE, PERSISTENCE, PROFESSIONALISM

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In this Operational Insights article, we will be sharing what the staffs at KX-Unit use to remain level headed and mission focused. We will also be using a case of an errant debtor to demonstrate the 3 ‘P’s we use to guide us in our line of work: Patience, Persistence, and Professionalism.

***Patience***
When KX-Unit was engaged to recover a debt by our client, we were pre-warned that the debtor has an aggressive tendency. Our client also brought us up to date with the debtor’s frequent tantrums – including days of table slamming and chair kicking. These were indeed crucial information for the staffs that will be on-site to engage the debtor, but at KX-Unit we believe that our disposition and attitude will determine our decision. That is why, regardless of the case or the nature of the debtor, we hold by the mindset of patience. Being patient ensures that our margin for error is minimized, and hence protecting the interest of our client. In fact, sometimes our seemingly “patient” methods has led on debtors to frustration, and most if not all end up making a mistake of sorts that gave us greater negotiation prowess. Take for example, the debtor in this case became angry and rash, and he threatened to “HURT ALL OF US” (a milder version of what he said). In this case, we did not even have to report him to the authorities; others eventually called in law enforcement because of his inability to control his anger.

***Persistence***
Of course, being Patience is not everything. To be successful, we need to be able to see an operation through. Whether it is the paperwork, the groundwork, or the actual operation, persistence is critical. In fact, we went down to seek a dialogue with the debtor for 4 times and we only managed to meet him once. Even then, we did not give up. We were persistent in our approach and we kept to our strategy patiently. It was thus a great vindication of our effort when his “neighbour” (or more like his brother-in-law) offered to pay his debt for him. The key is to recognize that Patience allows one to be attentive to the opportunities that come by, and Persistence is that unflinchingly grasp on any leads that can lead to more leads and eventually a settlement for our client.

***Professionalism***
Now, when the “neighbour” wanted to help the debtor repay his debt, we considered it a good progress, but we remain guarded. After all, we had no information of this stranger and we have no reason to believe he was serious in paying off the debt. But being persistent as a team, we latched on to the situation and developed the situation. Because this person wanted to IMMEDIATELY settle the debt and he wanted every loose end to be tied by that day itself. This allowed us to realize that the “neighbour” is indeed related to the debtor, he appeared to have the credibility, and most importantly, he had the urgency. And as industry professionals, we at KX-Unit surged into action: calling our client, printing contracts, sourcing out old contracts and invoices for the “neighbour”, coordinating the meeting between our client and the debtor and another meeting with the debtor’s “neighbour”, and much more. It was a hectic 4 hours process, running from place to place, calling one another, setting up meeting and crafting contractual agreements on the move – but we did it.

The 3 ‘P’s were vital for us at KX-Unit. Because we were PATIENT in our approach, we had a glimpse of opportunity. Because we were PERSISTENT, we latched on that opportunity and developed it. Because we were PROFESSIONAL, we out-did ourselves by resolving a potentially lengthy case so quickly, without taking any shortcuts. The former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, once said that: “The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes”.

And that was certainly true for us at KX-Unit. Rest assured that your interest is our top priority. If you do require a professional opinion on your own situation, or if you do know someone that may have such a need, feel free to contact KX-Unit +65 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com if you have any queries on this case or our services, and we will be most willing to advise. Alternatively, you may visit our website athttp://www.KX-Unit.com/.

C.J. Bervyn
Columnist

SCAM CASE SERIES: BANK INSTRUMENTS SCAM

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Last year, KX-Unit wrote an article on a Claims and Dispute Assessment case involving 3.5 million US dollars. This Scam Case Series article is a follow-up on that case. And one of the most fundamental changes in approach that KX-Unit has adopted is to regard it as a scam case. Based on our engagement over the months, and the new inputs from the facts that we have gathered, we have accordingly re-classified the case to be that of a scam. The nature of the case has developed and we have been versatile in our approach given overwhelming findings that this is highly likely a scam case.

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This is a large scam case involving 3.5 million US dollars. There are many parties involved – many unwitting scammed victims. The suspected scammer has a modus operandi: he claims to have international backing, including prominent political connections, and pitches that he has millions of dollars worth of assets locked overseas.

This is a prelude to his greater plan of manipulation: convincing potential victims by manipulating various bank instruments. Some of them include the Banker’s Guarantee (BD), Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC), and Time Demand Draft (TDD). The perception of these bank instruments have been capitalized upon and manipulated to give potential victims a false sense of security and credibility. In other words, the suspected scammer’s job was made a lot easier by manipulating the already established credibility that these banking apparatus have.

He was successful not just in scamming scores of individuals. He was also successful in luring a semi-governmental institution into his scheme. The proposals were elaborate and almost foolproof, so much so that he was able to elicit the support and collaboration of unknowing industry experts.

More specifically, he told our client that he needed 3.5 million dollars first because of his locked funds. And once he is able to “unlock” his multi-million dollar assets, he would be able to return the money and start the business proposal with our client. Our client was hesitant at first, but he was able to manipulate our client using some of the banking instruments mentioned above.

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These are short, working descriptions for ease of understanding and they are taken from Investopedia.

1) A Demand Draft
“A Demand draft is a method used by individuals to make transfer payments from one bank account to another. Demand drafts are marketed as a relatively secure method for cashing checks. The major difference between demand drafts and normal checks is that demand drafts do not require a signature in order to be cashed. It is also known as remotely created checks”.
In some cases, such as this, the Demand Draft can be employed in tandem with Time. For example, our client was assured that he would be repaid a sum by the debtor by a particular time frame. The fact that no signature is required establishes a certain trust and business-like goodwill in the transaction. The paradoxical twist is that the Time Demand Draft provides a semblance of the suspected scammer having “trust” in our client – in that our client would not “cash out” the cheque before the pre-agreed time.
Sources:
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/demanddraft.asp

2. A Bank Guarantee
“A bank guarantee is a guarantee from a lending institution ensuring that the liabilities of a debtor will be met. In other words, if the debtor fails to settle a debt, the bank will cover it.”
More generally, serial scammers have the ability to establish their funds and acquire a Bank Guarantee to convince new victims. Most of such cases will descend into a ponzi scam scheme. It is important to recognise that a Bank Guarantee is highly appealing, but take note that the fine print of certain banks and agreements may have preclusions that still ensures the banks do not need to provide the payout in the case the debtor/scammer defaults.
Sources:
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bankguarantee.asp

3. A Stanby Letter of Credit (SLOC, or SBLC)
“A standby letter of credit (SBLC) is a guarantee of payment issued by a bank on behalf of a client that is used as “payment of last resort” should the client fail to fulfilled a contractual commitment with a third party. Standby letters of credit are created as a sign of good faith in business transactions, and are proof of a buyer’s credit quality and repayment abilities. The bank issuing the SLOC will perform brief underwriting duties to ensure the credit quality of the party seeking the letter of credit, then send notification to the bank of the party requesting the letter of credit (typically a seller or creditor). It is also known as a non-performing letter of credit”.
This is once again similar to the Bank Guarantee, in terms of the perception of credibility a scammer is able to elicit from it.
Sources:
http://www.investopedia.com/ter…/s/standbyletterofcredit.asp

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KX-Unit has supported our client by linking him up with the relevant authorities and agencies. The new evidence uncovered during our engagement process has helped shed light on crucial aspects of the case. One aspect of our professional support is our regular and quality written-reports on our engagement. This helps our client to keep track of the case progress, and serves as a database of factual findings and analysis for our client upon request.

We hope this article has enlightened some to the more technical aspects of scammer’s approach. Feel free to approach us at if you have any queries. One of the services we provide is business consultancy service. If you have a query on the credit quality of a person or a proposal, or both, feel free to approach us. Our expertise in dealing with various scam cases also ensure that we provide a quality perspective based on the tacit knowledge and experience we have amassed.

Feel free to contact KX-Unit at +65 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com if you have any queries on this case or our services, and we will be most willing to advise. Alternatively, you may visit our website at http://www.KX-Unit.com/.

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