EXCLUSIVE: JOHOR BARU: An international syndicate has been using social media to scam locals into becoming operatives for the notorious Macau Scam.
First, the racketeers would dangle the promise of lucrative jobs overseas with salaries of between RM5,000 and RM7,000 a month via WeChat.
They would then tell prospective hires to meet them in the city, usually at coffeeshops.
Only when the “recruits” arrive with their passports will they realise that they have been lured there to undergo training before being sent abroad – to swindle fellow Malaysians using the Macau Scam tactic.
The recruits are from all over the country.
The term “Macau Scam” was coined because it is believed that such scams originated from Macau or that the first victims came from there, but this has never been confirmed.
Bukit Aman and Iskandar Puteri police uncovered a major “training centre” at several houses in Iskandar Puteri and Sri Alam recently with the arrest of 23 people, all locals with the exception of one.
Those arrested, several of them women, were aged between 17 and 40.
The mastermind, believed to be a Taiwanese national on Interpol's wanted list, was nabbed in a raid several days ago.
It is believed that the syndicate has been raking in millions of ringgit nationwide.
Police seized an array of equipment, including mobile phones, telephones, modems and laptops.
Federal Commercial Crimes Investigations Department deputy director (intelligence and operations) Senior Asst Comm Mohd Sakri Arifin urged jobseekers to be wary when offered lucrative jobs via social media.
“Nobody conducts job interviews for such high-paying jobs in coffeeshops,” he said.
He added that new recruits were trained to impersonate police, Bank Negara and Customs Department officers.
The fraudsters use Voice over Internet Protocol technology to replicate the phone numbers of the enforcement agencies.
The recruits then call up potential victims and claim that they have been implicated in criminal activities overseas, are wanted for buying drugs online or for money laundering.
They would then ask the victims to make payments or transfer money into other accounts to prevent it from being frozen.
Macau Scams are causing millions of ringgit in losses with each victim being cheated of sums ranging from RM2,000 to RM200,000.
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