[MUST READ] Beware Of These 6 Recent Scams In Malaysia

Almost everyday we read about someone losing their money to an online lover, winning fake lucky draws or receiving fake calls from bank officers. Protect yourself from becoming the next victim by understanding how these scams work. We've compiled some of the current scams going around in Malaysia with help from the Malaysian Crime Awareness Campaign group.

Cover image via themalaymailonline.com

1. The Police Impersonation-Intimidation Tactic

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Modus Operandi: A "police officer" claims that your family member has been arrested under drug charges. When you're anxious and worried, the fake cop gives you a solution. He will ask you to pay an exorbitant amount of "bail money" for the safe release of your family member.

Example: The man introduced himself as a narcotics police inspector and claimed the retiree's 32-year-old son had been nabbed for drugs. Ordering the bewildered father to stay on the phone with him the entire time, the "inspector" told the man that he had to pay RM200,000 to bail out his son from the lockup.

"The man pleaded with the conman saying he only at as much as RM100,000 in his savings. The suspect then agreed to the sum and asked him to drop the cash in a bag at a temple near the SS2 food court," said Petaling Jaya OCPD ACP Azmi Abu Kassim. "Once he had dropped off the money, the man went home and called his son. His son was in college at the time, unaware of anything that had happened. He had never been arrested.


2. The Lucky Draw Scam

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Modus Operandi: This infamous scam leads the victims to believe they have won a lucky draw. However, the catch is, they would have to make money transactions into other accounts beforehand in order to receive their prize money.

Example: The victim had befriended someone, after the ‘so-called female friend’ called her some two weeks ago, saying that the complainant has won a lucky draw. The lucky draw prize offered a jackpot of RM96,000, she was told.

However, in order to claim the cash prize, the complainant must fly to Hong Kong to claim the winnings. As the complainant could not do so, her ‘friend’ instructed the complainant to bank-in some cash to enable the winning cash to be sent to Malaysia. As instructed, the complainant who is in her 20s, made several bank-in transactions to bank accounts of individuals, all in totalling RM159,000.


3. The Job Offer Scheme

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Modus Operandi: The scammer appeals to fresh graduates with promises of job prospects. The victims are asked to transfer certain amounts to his account in order to secure the job placements.

Example: "The suspect pretended to be a KLIA officer and convinced the victim that he was able to offer him job opportunities in Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Singapore International Airlines (SIA). "He then asked the victim to transfer RM1,300 into his bank account to secure the job opportunity, in which the victim did so," he told a press conference on Thursday.

He added that the suspect later told the victim to contact a certain "Datuk" Siva about the job, which was also an identity impersonated by the suspect. "After the victim had contacted him on Whatsapp, he later told the victim to transfer another RM1,300 into the same bank account.


4. The Travel Agent Poser Trick

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Modus Operandi: The conmen will pose as travel agents, giving out free holiday packages. The victims were told to pay certain amounts in order to claim their freebie.

Example: Eight men have been detained over their involvement in a syndicate that allegedly scammed the public by pretending to be a travel agency handing out free holiday packages.

Federal Commercial Crime Investigation department deputy director Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Hamza Taib said the syndicate had duped its victims by informing them that they had won holiday packages to New Zealand and Australia worth US$150,000. “As with other similar scam, the victims were then required to pay certain amounts to claim the prize.


5. The Fake Bank Officer Scam

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Modus Operandi: The victim gets a call from a so-called bank officer with claims of an exorbitant purchase. After being alarmed by possible identity theft, the victim is asked to transfer the money to another account for security check.

Example: Najat, a 25-year-old interior designer in KL, received a phone call from an automated operator of a particular bank, asking if she had just bought RM3,000 worth of jewellery with the bank’s credit card. She said she had made no such transaction and asked to speak to a bank officer.

He then told her that her identity might have been stolen, and asked her to file a report with Bank Negara’s “Unit Kredit Kad Palsu” (Credit Card Fraud Unit). When Najat called the number given, one “Inspector Teo” claiming to be from the unit, asked her to transfer funds to a third party account as part of a “security check." "I believed him and tried to transfer RM7,000 to the bank account number given to me."


6. The Friendly Loan Scheme

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Modus Operandi: One of the most frequently occurring scams, the culprits find their targets on dating websites, targeting on their weakness like loneliness. The victims are befriended and woo-ed, later convinced into giving friendly loans which they soon find out will never be paid back.

Example: In her police report, the doctor said they met on Shaadi.com, a dating agency, in May last year and became friendly. Ackermann asked her first for a friendly loan of US$5,000 (RM16,332) and later £1,000 (RM5,277) which he agreed to repay in three weeks but did not despite a so-called lawyer’s agreement.

Then there was a payment to be made to Malaysia’s Finance Ministry for “foreign exchange allocation". She took a bank loan of about RM200,000 to make the payment into the account of a Malaysian living in Ipoh. The doctor told police she was supposed to receive US$1,504,900 (RM5 million) compensation but she was asked to pay more for various reasons.


What to do: In a lot of these scams, the scammers will tap into your vulnerability. Be it fear, loneliness, desperation or greed. Protect yourselves by understanding the scams that are out there. You can also learn tips to avoid being victims yourselves by reading materials like this and this.

Here are some other useful information to be aware of: