Single mum and retiree lose nearly RM1mil to scammers

BUKIT MERTAJAM: An accounts clerk who lost almost RM1mil in savings and a retiree seeking financial assistance are the two latest victims of online scams.

Central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Shafee Samad said the clerk working at a shopping centre in Butterworth parted with RM927,400 between April 9, 2019, and Feb 12 this year.

“The 58-year-old befriended a man, identified as William Schang from the United States, through social media back in April 2019.

“After a while, they exchanged numbers and started messaging each other. The man eventually asked the woman for financial assistance for a petroleum exploration business in the US.

“He promised to return the victim’s money along with a commission.

“Believing the man, she made 50 transactions to five different Malaysian bank accounts, totalling RM927,400,” he said in a statement yesterday.

ACP Shafee said after depositing the money, the woman, who is also a single mother, tried to contact the man several times but to no avail.

She realised she had been cheated and lodged a police report yesterday.

“Investigations are ongoing to trace the owner of the accounts used by the syndicate,” he said.

In Seremban, a 68-year-old retiree from Tampin was told by an “old friend” to apply for cash assistance online only to end up poorer by RM23,000.

State Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Supt Aibee Ab Ghani said the man’s troubles started in December when the “friend” contacted him on Facebook to tell him that those in the B40 group could apply for the cash assistance.

“All the man needed to do was to go to a link on Facebook and he would be able to apply for the assistance,” he said in a statement.

The victim did as told and was soon connected to an “agent” by the name of Sylvester Douglas, who sent him a message that he had won RM100,000 with his application.

To “redeem” the prize, he would have to make an upfront payment.

Supt Aibee said the victim transferred money into 20 different accounts in stages between Dec 12 and June 18.

The man lodged a police report on June 19 when his “winnings” never came.

“Preliminary police probe shows that a syndicate, which was involved in 45 other scams, is behind it.

“They cheat the public via online shopping, buying and selling old currencies and love scams,” he said.

Supt Aibee advised the public to exercise caution when accepting friend requests on social media or from strangers.

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