SIBU: An insurance clerk in Sri Aman was duped of RM159,450 in a scam by a man she met on social media.
Sarawak commercial crime investigation department chief Supt Mustafa Kamal Gani Abdullah said Thursday (April 4) that the case happened between July 2017 and December 2018, but the victim had only lodged a police report on April 3, 2019, after the long wait to get back her money failed.
"The victim got to know an 'American' on Facebook in March 2017.
"They also communicated through WhatsApp. After several months of courtship, the man told her that he had arrived in the country," he added.
It was then that the man started to cheat her by saying that he had been detained by Customs officers as he did not have a medical report to state he was in good health in order to enter the country.
Between July 2017 and December 2018, the woman, 40, transferred a total of RM159,450 to a bank account.
The money was supposedly for the man's medical check-up, visa, air ticket and as a fee to re-activate his bank account and to release the large sum of money that he had purportely brought in but which was being held by Customs.
"When she failed to contact the man after making the payments, she realised that she had been cheated," he said.
Hoping to get back her money, she waited until all her efforts to contact him were in vain.
"Those who are active users of social media must be cautious at all times in order not to fall victim to such scams.
"Do not easily send money to online friends who give various non-logical reasons for the need for money," Supt Mustafa advised.
He also urged the people to contact the police, Customs or Immigration department for advice if they were suspicious of online friends.