THE next time you come across a social media post asking for donations for an injured animal, be cautious.
A group of animal lovers has raised concerns that an unscrupulous party was preying on the goodwill of internet users to make easy cash.
They alleged that the culprits set up multiple Facebook accounts and posted edited photos of animals to make them look injured, before asking internet users to transfer money to a bank account for an animal that may not actually even exist.
Four reports had been lodged so far at the Subang Jaya, Ampang Jaya and Bukit Jalil police stations.
Lin Ye Shan, who had donated to such causes before, said the issue came to light after social media users began scrutinising the accounts last week.
"The Facebook accounts have existed for several years now and people have been donating.
"We hope the authorities will investigate and take action against the culprits," she said during a press conference at the Kepong DAP service centre on Wednesday (Sept 22).
Another donor Alexis Sue Ann raised concerns about the welfare of the animals that might be involved in the alleged scam.
"Many people including my friends and family have donated to these individuals, and some have donated a handsome sum," she said.
During the press conference, donors alleged that the culprits also edited their own photos to assume a different identity.
They were also suspicious if the dogs actually existed, alleging that photos of the animals were edited to look disabled.
A check by StarMetro on the Facebook accounts found that three of them were already taken down, with only one still active, with the latest post dating from two days ago.
A post on it claimed its work had been tarnished and that it was "unable to defend itself due to legal reasons".
Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng's political secretary Yew Jia Haur said the parliamentary office would send a letter to the police, Bank Negara and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to look into the matter.
"This is to create awareness among the public to be more careful before making such donations.
"We urge the public to verify the identity of these Facebook account owners such as their shelter location to avoid being cheated," he said.