7 Reasons Why Malaysians Still Fall For Scams And How To Safeguard Yourself

Staying safe online is just as important as staying safe in real life.

Cover image via Aruba Today / Edited by SAYS

1. Scams can tug at your heartstrings and manipulate your emotions

Such scams may include a fake Facebook charity page asking for donations for a dog shelter. 

How to safeguard yourself: Do a quick Google search of the charity to see if they exist, or even drop them a private message to try and get more information about them. If you aren't able to get much info, it's better to not donate. Don't let your emotions sway you, no matter how cute the puppies look!

2. The scammer is posing as someone you know

For example, receiving a text that your relative has an outstanding bill that needs to be settled urgently. 

How to safeguard yourself: The simplest way to know if it is a scam or not is to check with the person who has the outstanding 'bill'. It may seem like a no-brainer to verify with them first, but sometimes you might settle the 'bill' without thinking twice because you think that you're doing them a favour. It doesn't hurt to double check!

3. Transferring money to an online shop because it looks legit or simply because you really want the product they are selling

Ever seen an offer that seems too good to be true? For example, RM50 for the latest original Nike Air Max. You might be tempted to purchase it because the website looks professional and the shoes' price is a steal. However, you should always be cautious because looks can be deceiving.

How to safeguard yourself: If the online store has very little to no feedback, isnโ€™t rated, or has no address listed, you should probably think twice before making a purchase.

4. Scam emails that include businesslike and legal-sounding jargon to create an aura of legitimacy

Emails that looks like it's from an established organisation like a bank or even a government agency can be tricky. Some of them may use official terms, ask for your personal details, or attach a 'very important' document. 

How to safeguard yourself: Never reply to an email, click a link, or open an attachment, even if it seems like the email is from an organisation you trust. Legitimate businesses will never ask for your personal and sensitive details via insecure channels. 

5. Developing a bond or feelings for the scammer

Dating apps are extremely popular these days. However, that popularity comes with its disadvantages. Scams targeting dating app users are also becoming more popular, with scammers creating a fake persona (aka catfishing), developing a relationship with the victim, and then asking for money. For those who think they have met 'the one', they might be willing to freely give the scammers money, regardless of the amount. It's true when they say love is blind.

How to safeguard yourself: Find the most trustworthy profiles that look like they belong to actual people. For example, profiles that link to their social media accounts or Spotify. Before the online relationship goes any deeper, you should consider meeting up with them in real life. If not, you might be sending money to a complete stranger (or scammer).

6. If there's one thing Malaysians love more than discounts, it's getting free stuff

You've probably received emails asking you to 'click this link' for free clothes from your favourite online boutique or free movie tickets. However, despite how tempted you are to click that link, be careful because it might cost you more than you think.

How to safeguard yourself: Double check with the company who is promising you free things to see if they really did send you that message/e-mail. 

7. FOMO - Fear of missing out

In this era, everyone wants to be in the know of the 'next big thing'. Social media scammers are well aware of this and use it to their full advantage. Scammers may pose as a company or a executive officer on a social networking platform, and launch a new event or festival that is going to be the most talked about topic. Those who have FOMO will unfortunately be victims to such scams.

How to safeguard yourself: If the event is truly going to be the 'next big thing', then there should be websites or third-party news about it. If not, then you should be wary about buying tickets to an event that does not even exist. If you're not convinced that a super hyped up festival can be a scam, go watch the Fyre Music Festival documentary. ;)

To help you prevent fraud and identity theft, CIMB has taken the extra initiative to protect as well as inform you on how to stay safe online with their Anti-Scam Campaign

CIMB Bank Berhad has partnered with the Royal Malaysian Police Kuala Lumpur (PDRM KL) on an Anti-Scam Campaign with the theme โ€œBeware, Be Aware, Stop the Scammersโ€ to raise awareness on various common scams. There were 1,000 cases with losses amounting to RM72 million in 2018 within the Klang Valley alone. 

CIMB has also released a series of videos portraying scams based on true stories in hopes of creating awareness, and to remind citizens to beware and be aware

Check out one of the videos below and click here to see the rest.

Visit CIMB's website to get more information on how you can protect yourself online

Don't forget that staying safe online is just as important as staying safe in real life!