Chong: RM3.7mil in losses so far due to Macau scams


KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA Public Services and Complaints Department has handled 12 Macau scam cases involving approximately RM3.7mil in losses to date, said department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong (pic).

"I've already made four press conferences on this topic. I don't know how else to bring awareness. It's to the point where news like this is nothing new already," he said.

However, he noted at a press conference on Tuesday (Oct 16) that it was difficult to catch these scammers due to their constantly changing tactics.

"They use mule accounts and technology. It's not easy to catch them. And a lot of these mule accounts belong to students who are paid a commission from the scammers. We have to continue exposing these scammers," he said.

He added that scammers are so focused on making money that they will try any number available to them - even calling him

Chong said that he had received a message claiming that he was a lucky winner, but then found out that the address stated in the message was wrong when he did a quick check on its legitimacy

"The scammers forgot that the real office had already moved. They were still using the old address," he said.

He also noted that the scammers even used a fake profile picture to help convince potential victims of its legitimacy.

The term “Macau Scam” was coined because it is believed that it originated from Macau or that the first victims came from there. This has never been confirmed.

The scam often starts with a phone call from someone pretending to be an officer from a bank, government agency or debt collector.

The scammer will then claim that the potential victim owes money or has an unpaid fine, often with a very short window of less than an hour, to settle the payment or face “dire consequences”.

These unsuspecting victims will then be asked to make payments to get them off the hook.