MELAKA: Melakans have lost close to RM280,000 since 2019 in a zeal to own high-end smartphones, police said.
Melaka Commercial Crime chief Supt E. Sundra Rajan (pic) said 73 cases of fraud involving the purchase of smartphones were reported from 2019 to date.
The highest number of 56 cases was in 2020, with four cases reported since the start of this year.
"Victims were lured by discounted prices for branded smartphones through online channels," Supt Sundra Rajan said on Wednesday (Feb 10).
He noted the highest number of such deals were made through Instagram (41 cases), followed by mudah.my (12 cases), Facebook and WhatsApp (nine each), and WeChat (two).
He said a 19-year-old female factory worker was the latest to fall prey to such a scam.
Supt Sundra Rajan said the victim lodged a report at the Alor Gajah police station on Tuesday (Feb 9), after her attempt to own an Apple smartphone went awry.
"She lost RM2,100 after depositing the sum into two bank accounts as instructed by the conman," he said.
Supt Sundra Rajan added that preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect had seven previous police reports against him for using the same tactic of selling nonexistent smartphones.