PETALING JAYA: Scammers are taking advantage of the public’s fear of the Covid-19 outbreak and anxiety over the movement control order (MCO) to make despicable pitches.
“We would like to alert the public of these scammers on the prowl, taking advantage of Covid-19 fears with calls, SMSes and emails, ” said Kuala Lumpur Crime Prevention Practitioner Association chairman Bok Siew Mun.
“The extended MCO period is probably an opportunity for these scammers to target people who are vulnerable at home, ” he added.
Bok urged those receiving calls or SMSes asking them to verify their personal information, or those purportedly from freight forwarding company with parcels to deliver, to be more vigilant.
“If you have not ordered anything online, just ignore these calls.
“Try to access the proper channels before you act or give out any personal information to strangers.
“Fraudsters and scammers are most likely to prey on senior citizens, ” he said.
Bok said that so far, his association has received three reports from members of the public over such scams.
On March 15, a 37-year-old clerk in Alor Gajah lost RM54,000 in an online scam after placing orders for 3,364 boxes of face masks.
In Sibu, a beautician, aged 21, lost RM10,000 to her “WeChat friend” after ordering 200 boxes of face masks that were never delivered to her.
Early this month, a woman was scammed into giving RM600,000 and her passport to a conman who claimed to be selling face masks.
These scammers are only taking advantage of the latest “trend”
Separately, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor said 393 cases of fraud involving the sale of face masks were reported nationwide, with losses amounting to RM1.1mil.
He said the police were taking the cases seriously and so far, 26 people had been arrested with several already charged in court.
“Some are still taking the opportunity to deceive the public in this situation (Covid-19 pandemic), ” he said when appearing as a guest on the Malaysia Hari Ini programme on TV3. Mazlan also said 94
investigation papers were opened nationwide about the spread of fake news relating to the Covid-19 outbreak.
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