Staying one step ahead of scammers


Azman (fifth from left) and Tan (centre) with panellists and guests at the launch of the #TakNakScam awareness campaign at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

META Malaysia is back with new initiatives under its #TakNakScam awareness campaign this year.

It was first launched in July 2021 with the aim of educating the public on how to spot, check and report highly deceptive tactics employed by scammers.

Strategic partners supporting this campaign are the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Royal Malaysia Police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), Bursa Malaysia Bhd, CyberSecurity Malaysia, The Association of Banks in Malaysia and the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca).

Meta Malaysia country director Nicole Tan said they viewed safety aspects on their platforms seriously.

“We want to drive impactful conversations and encourage critical thinking so our users remain vigilant against scams,” said Tan at the launch of the campaign at Hilton Kuala Lumpur hotel.

She shared that the first campaign which ran for five months last year was well-received and reached more than two million people via 105,000 link clicks on social media.

Meanwhile, its influencer campaign through Meta marketing partners reached almost five million people.

“This year, the #TakNakScam campaign will focus on the top five online scams involving ecommerce, illegal loans, jobs, investment and money muling.

“Our new initiatives include “We Think Digital” (WTD) scam prevention modules.

“So far, 1,900 students from 200 schools have learnt from these modules,” said Tan.

Another initiative will involve educating the public via different content formats such as collaborating with a Spark AR creator to produce a series of Instagram AR filters to offer a more immersive learning experience.

Meta also plans to teach sellers how to protect consumers.

“We hope to promote digital literacy so people can enjoy a safer experience on Meta platforms and online,” said Tan, adding that educational videos would be shared with all partners.

At the event, ministry secretary-general Datuk Azman Mohd Yusof said they had received 13,348 complaints this year and of the figure, 4,114 involved online fraud.

According to CCID, there were 71,833 fraud cases with losses amounting to RM5.2bil from 2020 to May 2022, and 68% involved online scams.

“Use a secure network when making transactions online whether for banking or purchasing goods,” advised Azman.

There was also a panel discussion on digital literacy that was moderated by Meta Malaysia head of industry (ecommerce) Justin Murugaya.

The panellists were CCID cyber and multimedia crime investigation assistant director Supt Madhavan Nair, MCMC consumer and industry affairs head Eneng Faridah Iskandar Sastrawidjaja, SC consumer and investor office general manager Jawahar Ali Ameer Ali, Bursa Malaysia education head AA Deepa and Fomca national consumer complaint centre head Baskaran Sithamparam.

Supt Madhavan shared that fraudsters were quick to take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic including asking for payment from those trying to avoid vaccination.

Eneng Faridah said MCMC managed to block 1.6 billion suspicious calls from reaching Malaysians between 2018 and 2021,

Jawahar Ali said people had to be more alert and not take enticing promises of higher returns at face value.

Deepa warned that scammers abused the Bursa Malaysia logo to instil fear in victims and make them think the calls were legitimate.

Baskaran said victims should lodge a police report if they had been cheated as it would help prevent other consumers from being duped.

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