A RETIRED pensioner had his life savings of RM80,000 ‘scratched’ away after being duped in a scam.
The man, who only wanted to be known as Tan, 55, was cheated of his money after falling for a scratch-and-win scam.
Tan said he was approached by a man along Jalan Imbi who offered him a lottery card which was to be scratched and would give him a chance to win cash worth RM150,000, electrical appliances or a car.
Excited about the offer, Tan scratched the card and was told that he had won the cash prize and three cars.
“After that, I was told in order to collect the prize, I had to visit their office in Taman Miharja, Cheras.
“There, they said I would have to withdraw RM80,000 for them to copy the serial numbers as ‘proof’ that I had paid the ‘government taxes’.
“I agreed, so the next day I was taken to a bank to withdraw the money and went back to the office.
“Once there a woman took the money and went into another room to copy the numbers.
“But, she never came back and when I demanded they return the money, a group of 10 men came in and locked me in a room. I had to call the police,” he said.
“I could not think straight after losing the money. It was even hard to communicate to the police.
“The money was meant to be used for my wedding, but now even my girlfriend has run away,” Tan said.
A similar fate befell a 22-year-old student and a 46-year-old housewife after they became victims of another scratch-and-win syndicate.
Both were approached after exiting the MidValley KTM station and were asked to take part in the contest.
Citing a similar modus operandi, student Sheng said he was forced to fork out RM6,000 to claim the “prize” of a travel package, a car and gold.
“Once at their office, a group of men took my money and forced us to leave,” he said.
Meanwhile, housewife Liew said she was promised two electrical items but had to pay RM3,000 to claim them.
“It was only when I reached home that I realised the electrical items were not worth even half the value I paid,” she said.
Gerakan Public Service and Complaints Bureau chief Wilson Lau, who highlighted the issue, said a special unit had been set up by the bureau to look into such cases.
“Because of the prevalence of such schemes, we have established a five-man team that will collect information from victims and channel them to the police.”
Lau also urged the public to be wary of such practices.
“Our next action is to take the victims to these ‘offices’ to hopefully reclaim the money.
“Be suspicious of people who approach with such contests as more often than not, they turn out to be scams,” he said, adding he had personally handled 15 such cases in the past two years.