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RM141,602 online Sabah shopping fraud so far
Published on: Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Police have advised the public to be wary about get-rich-quick schemes following an increase in such commercial crimes in Sabah over the last two years.

Figures have shown a spike between 2016 and this year, prompting authorities to remind the public not to hesitate to report even if they have the slightest suspicion about dubious schemes.

According to ASP Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Mohsin who heads the Commercial Crime Investigation Department from Kota Kinabalu police headquarters, there were 37 cases involving losses totaling RM141,602 from fraudulent online shopping purchases last year.

"But this year, the number jumped to 108 cases involving a total loss of RM252,730.

"The number of cases may be small but the amount of money lost to the scams are big," he said during the financial crime forum recently.

Equally severe, he said, is the emotional trauma victims have had to undergo as a result of the losses.

Syed Abdul Rahman, who was one of the panelists at the forum, also disclosed that in the Macau scam, only three cases were reported last year involving a total sum of RM21,180 but the number has shot up to eight with total losses amounting to a whopping RM661,302 this year.

Macau scam is a fraudulent scheme using voice over Internet to replicate phone numbers of the police, central banks and other government agencies.

He said there are many types of scams, including those that use love as bait.

"Anyone can be a victim. But what you must do is never allow people whom you know and do not know to use your bank account other than yourself," he advised.

To scammers, Syed Abdul warned that scamming is a serious crime and they can be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and jailed up to 10 years plus whipping, when convicted.

Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Kota Kinabalu Manager Mohd Nawawi Mohd Hassan said civil servants, in particular pensioners, have been the main targets of scammers.

Aside from them, he said many rural folks have fallen prey to some schemes as well as single mothers and single women in love scams.

But generally, he said, scammers are out to scam anyone regardless of their social status.

He cited one particular case where the victim was made to believe the scheme was genuine when the scammer came driving with a brand new car.

Another case, he said, involved an office employee who ended up with huge debts after being cheated.

"When you're in doubt, please report to us," said Mohd Nawawi, who also sat in the panel during the forum.

Also present was Roslee Maslie from the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Kota Kinabalu. - Brenda Chai

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