JOHOR BARU: Those seeking loans must go to registered financial institutions and submit necessary documents instead of applying via social media or over the phone, said Iskandar Puteri OCPD Asst Comm Dzulkhairi Mukhtar. He urged the public to be careful as there were many scammers and conmen waiting to take advantage of gullible and desperate people.
He said applicants must go personally to the financial institutions they choose to apply and submit documents.
ACP Dzulkhairi said this following the police’s success in busting a “fake loan scam”, involving the arrest of 11 people, including four women, in a series of raids over the past few days in the district.
The syndicate, which has been active for the past six months, is believed to have conned their victims of RM1.3mil.
He said besides the arrests, police also seized items used by the syndicate to con their victims.
He said all the suspects, aged 17 to 28, have been remanded to assist in investigations.
In explaining their modus operandi, ACP Dzulkhairi said the suspects would contact the victims and offer personal loans.
“They use the social media or communicate with the victims using Whatsapp, and claim to be from a finance company.
“Once the victim is snared, syndicate members will ask for payments such as processing fees, taxes, insurance fees and other fees ranging between RM300 to RM5,000 each.
“Eventually, many victims who wanted to borrow only RM10,000 end up paying as much as RM5,000 up front to this syndicate, and also never get the loans,” he said, adding that all communications were done over the phone, without any meetings.
He said based on reports, a special team from the district commercial crime unit headed by Asst Supt V. Prakash, carried out the raids on Jan 27 after a month-long surveillance.
He said the operation, dubbed Ops Seagull, led police to carry out two raids at houses in Bukit Indah, leading to the arrest of the suspects.
Among the items seized included laptops, printers, fake documents from a non-existent credit company, Takaful insurance policies, fake stamps from the Inland Revenue Department, Bank Negara approval letters, fake cheques, 30 mobile phones, 51 sim cards and other items.
Five of the suspects have past convictions for other offences while two were school dropouts.
He said there were 53 reports with losses totalling RM700,000 in the district last year.
“So far this year, we have reports of eight cases with losses amounting to RM32,000,” he said.
He said the cases were being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.
Those with information on such cases, can call the police hotline at 07-221 2999.