Cops record 20% increase in phone scams during MCO period

KOTA TINGGI: Police have recorded an increase of 20% in Macau scam cases during the movement control order (MCO) and conditional MCO from March 18 until May 18, with losses amounting close to half a million.

Kota Tinggi OCPD Supt Ahsmon Bajah (pic) said that the syndicate usually targets pensioners and farmers who own land as their victims.

“The case has increased to 34 cases during the period, compared with 28 cases from January until March 17 with recorded losses at RM480,000.

“They would impersonate enforcement agencies like the police and tell the victims that they have a police record or a court case they must attend where the victim is required to give personal details and make payments.

“This has never been our standard operating procedure, and if any members of the public who receive such calls, please alert the nearby police stations immediately, ” he said during a press conference at Kota Tinggi District Police Headquarters, here on Tuesday (May 19).

He added that the syndicates have also managed to create phone numbers that are identical to the enforcement agencies, such as the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and court.

“The only difference is the area codes, for example, we use +60, the syndicate would usually use +80, +90 and others, followed by the agency numbers.

“We are also working closely with other government agencies on how these syndicates were able to get information on pensioners, ” he said, adding that so far, no arrest has been made.

Supt Ahsmon added that, aside from calling the nearby police stations, victims could also check the given number account at or call CCID infoline at 03-2111222.

“If you have never been involved in any crime or any court cases before, do not entertain the caller. If you are unsure, call the nearest police station to check, do not waste your time on these scammers and fall prey to them, ” he added.

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.

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