Retiree loses RM740,000 in Macau scam

KUANTAN (Bernama): A retiree lost a whopping RM740,000 of her savings after being duped by Macau scam syndicate member, disguised as a police officer, for nearly four months.

Pahang Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Supt Mohd Wazir Mohd Yusof said it all started when the 65-year-old woman received a phone call from a male suspect in March.

The suspect was said to have introduced himself as an officer from the Kota Kinabalu district police station and claimed that he was conducting an investigation against the victim as she was suspected to be involved in money laundering activities.

"The victim denied any involvement but was ordered to share information on her savings over the phone to avoid the money from being seized or the bank account frozen during the investigation.

"The suspect allegedly told the victim to transfer the money to a new account with a guarantee that it would be returned to her once the investigations completed,” he told reporter here Saturday (June 13).

Supt Mohd Wazir said the victim had been warned not to tell anyone including family members or she would be charged with allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act and disclosing "police investigations".

The victim claimed to make several transactions to transfer the money to the suspect’s bank account since March 23.

However, the victim became suspicious after failing to contact the suspect to know the status of the investigation because she needed to use her money.

She then lodged a report at the Kuantan district police headquarters here yesterday and the case was being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code, he said.

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. - Bernama

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