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Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 9:28:43 AM
by christina tan
Banner being displayed at shopping complexes to remind people to stay away from scams.
BATU PAHAT: Johor Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperative Department has been collaborating with the police and local governments since May to curb scratch-and-win scams, however, there are many who are still falling into the trap.
Its director Ayub Abd Rahman said currently, the department received an average of four complaints every month compared to 15 before the cooperation with other government agencies.
“Although the effort has helped to reduce the cases, it will not
stop without the willingness of
the public to stay away from scratch-and-win scams,” he said during a Hari Raya open house hosted by the department’s district office here on Friday.
Ayub said JB Sentral – City Square Bridge in Johor Baru used to be
the main target area for the syndicate due to the large number of people there.
Scores of Singaporeans were among many locals who had fallen victim to the scam at the “hot spot”.
“Agents prey on these people with offers of luxury prizes such as cars and jet mattresses. They would usually target those who walked alone.
“Some 80% of the victims who complained were Singaporeans, each of them having paid between S$3,000 (RM7,752) and S$5,000 (RM12,920) but did not get their prizes,” he said, adding that the agent would even drive the victims to banks in Singapore to collect money and dropped them off at the houses after that.
He said some locals had lost up to RM15,000 each to the scam.
Ayub added that the department had put in various efforts to remind the public to stay away from this scams, including putting up banner and distributing pamphlets on information at public areas.
“We are speechless when some people scratched the tickets
offered by the agents while standing on the department’s floor graphic or next to the banners
on the scam at the bridge,” he
Ayub also said the syndicate had switched their target to car parks at shopping complexes around Johor Baru from the bridge after the presence of police there.
“The victims of the scam are made up of all races, both, men and women as well as young and old, however, the biggest group are women aged 40 and above,” he said.
He added that many victims told the officers that they believed they were hypnotised and other reasons.
Ayub also said it was difficult for the enforcement to take action against the culprits as they were unregistered companies and hid under various companies’ names and move frequently from one place to another.
“The most effective solution is to stay away from scratch-and-win, do not even try it because there is no cheap or free luxury things,” he added.
He also urged the public to check with the department if they were unsure of certain offers before they made any payments.
Meanwhile, the department’s district officer Supartini Mahhbot said the agents of scratch-and-win would be “extra aggressive” during festive seasons and payroll days as many people would go out and spend.
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