M'sians duped out of millions of ringgit annually by phone, online scammers

ADRIAN DAVID


KUALA TERENGGANU: Scores of Malaysians are duped out of millions of ringgit by internet scammers annually.

The con-artists, often impersonating bank, finance or commercial house officers, make phone calls to unsuspecting victims, enticing them with amazing buy-sell offers with very short expiry periods.

Federal police commercial crimes director Commissioner Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sanis said they receive hundreds of reports weekly from scammed victims – but he believes the number could be much higher, as many cases go unreported.

He advised the public against easily falling for gimmicks offering “too good to be true” deals, including holiday packages and popular retail items.

“Many of these gimmicks often entice people to participate in promotional events that expire on the day they are introduced to them.

“Usually, these are made via phone calls, personal websites, and listings in popular online marketplaces like Mudah.com and Lelong.com,” he said after witnessing the handing-over of duties ceremony for the Terengganu police chief.

Acryl advised the public to verify the validity of the offers and the agents’ identities, and stressed that no bank or financial institution would insist that their customers carry out online transactions over the phone, such as updating their personal data or making payments.

“Instead, such transactions must be done manually by filling up relevant forms in person at the banks’ premises,” he said.

Acryl advised victims to lodge reports on scams to enable police to investigate their case.

“Many shy away, as the amount lost is (relatively) small, like a few hundred ringgit. But it adds up to a lot if a large number of people have been duped,” he added.

Meanwhile, the handing-over of duties event was held as outgoing chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Rosli Abdul Rahman, 57, a Terengganu-born veteran from Bukit Tunggal, has been promoted to the rank of Commissioner as the new Pahang police chief.

His successor is his squad mate, Bukit Aman’s federal police strategic and technology source department director, Deputy Commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail, 53, who is also a local boy from Ladang.

Also promoted was Terengganu crime chief Assistant Commissioner, Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Hamzah, who will soon assume duties as the principal assistant director of Serious Crimes in Bukit Aman.