KUALA LUMPUR: Loan scam victims nationwide have lost a whopping RM57mil this year, says Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Zakaria Ahmad.
The Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director said the amount of losses were from 4,287 cases recorded between Jan 1 and Nov 10.
"It is certainly a worrying trend as the number of cases and losses are higher compared to last year.
"In 2018, loan scams involved RM35mil in losses," he told a press conference at the CCID headquarters on Thursday (Nov 14).
However, Bukit Aman managed to make headway in the war against the loan scammers by busting 20 syndicates this year, he added.
"The busted syndicates were responsible for scamming 779 victims.
"We also arrested 174 syndicate members," he said, adding that 62 of those arrested had been prosecuted.
The scammers would communicate with their victims via text messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and WeChat.
"Any payment to the scammers are made via online transactions.
"Usually the victims would end up paying more than the amount of loan they wanted to take in the first place. After the victims finished paying lots of 'fees', they would not even get the loan," he said.
Comm Mohd Zakaria said there was a case where a victim wanted to borrow RM50,000 but ended up paying up to RM60,000 in "fees".
"There was also a case where a man paid RM200,000 for a big loan but ended up empty-handed as well," he added.
Most syndicates conduct their "business" in condominiums and houses, he added.
"They would call their victims from these locations as well as perform online transactions," he added.
Victims of loan scams came from all walks of life, including lawyers, teachers and even bank officers, Comm Mohd Zakaria said.
"I advise the people not to be easily fooled by any person or company that offered loans through social media or text messaging applications.
"Get loans through the normal and legal channels," he said.
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