Security manager P. Gokila Vijayan Naidu was mourning the loss of his aunt when his family received a call from a stranger claiming to be from the Welfare Department.
The man on the other end of the telephone informed the deceased’s daughter that their family was entitled to RM6,950 in funeral benefits but they first needed to give RM1,530.
“He claimed to be a welfare officer but refused to give his name.
“We were told to deposit the money into a bank account by 4.30pm the same day,” said Gokila when recounting details of the incident on May 14 in Ipoh.
Gokila said a woman’s name appeared when he keyed in the account number in the cash deposit machine, confirming his suspicions that it was a scam.
“I cancelled the transaction and immediately reported the matter to the bank.
“I was told that I wasn’t the first to complain. Others had been duped into depositing money into the same account,” he added.
Later, when lodging a police report at the Kampung Baru station in Buntong the next day, Gokila received another call from the “welfare officer”.
“He was angry that I didn’t deposit the money and warned that our entitlement to the funeral benefit will be revoked.
“On May 16, I received a call from another man claiming to be one Sjn Azman, threatening me to withdraw my police report,” said Gokila, adding that the scammer could have obtained his cousin’s contact from an obituary they had placed in the newspaper.
When contacted, Perak Commercial Crime chief Superintendent Lee Ewe Kiong said the scam was not something new as the same modus operandi was being employed in other scams.
“We can get the account number from the bank but invariably, it would be under an innocent person’s name — an account opened using a fake identity card.
“The public must always remember that something is wrong if they have to first pay to receive aid,” Supt Lee warned.