JOHOR BARU: Online scam syndicates are using homeless people, drug addicts and the unemployed by opening up bank accounts on their behalf to deposit money cheated off victims.
Police uncovered the dirty tactic following major operations held around here with the arrest of 440 individuals between Jan 6 and May 31 this year, said Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay (pic).
“All of those arrested are mule account holders where most of them are homeless, drug addicts and the unemployed.
“Investigations reveal that syndicates will give each of them RM100 to open up bank accounts and in turn, they would use the accounts to transfer the money they have cheated from their victims, ” said Comm Ayob Khan in a press conference held at the state police headquarters here yesterday.
So far, about 350 of these account mules have been charged in court for the offences.
Comm Ayob Khan said the syndicates prefer to target such groups as they would be desperate for money and easy to prey upon.
“Normally, the police will take action against online scam syndicates but this time around we’ll be going after the account holders as well, ” he added.
Action will be taken against such scammers under Section 420 of the Penal Code, which provides for a maximum jail term of 10 years, Section 424 and Section 411 of the same Act that carry jailtime of up to five years or fine or both upon conviction.
Comm Ayob Khan said this comes as the police recorded a 100.3% increase in scamming cases within the first five months of this year alone.
“Between Jan and May last year, police recorded RM8.4mil losses but in the same period of 2020, so far we have recorded RM17.1mil losses, ” he said urging the public to be more vigilant and not fall for such scams.
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