JOHOR BARU: Police have busted a syndicate that scammed people through bogus online job offers with the arrest of 22 suspects, including teenagers.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said syndicate members would pose as recruitment agents, claiming they represented a popular e-commerce platform.
He added that the suspects were arrested in a series of raids conducted at four premises in Kota Tinggi between 4pm and 11pm on Monday (June 21) and said that the 11 men and 11 women arrested were aged between 15 and 28.
“The syndicate has been operating for a month at a gated and guarded premises which is their service centre where they will scam their victims via messaging apps, promoting jobs as 'online purchasing agents'.
“The victims will be offered an opportunity to make a profit of between 8% and 15% by making online purchases of products belonging to the syndicate,” he told a press conference at Johor police headquarters here on Wednesday (June 23).
Comm Ayob Khan added that each syndicate member would receive a monthly salary of RM1,000 to RM3,000, not including commission.
He explained that victims would be asked to call a "service centre" number provided by the fraudsters upon which they would be instructed to make payments for the items purportedly sold on the e-commerce platform.
“By purchasing the items, the victims are made to believe that they are working as ‘online purchasing agents’. However, the payment goes into the syndicate’s mule account without going through the e-commerce platform," he said.
He added that the scammers would promise the victims a refund along with 8% to 15% commission within 10 to 15 minutes of making the purchase but no such payment would be forthcoming.
The majority of the victims are from Singapore, Comm Ayob Khan said.
Police believe the syndicate moves around to avoid detection and actively recruits new members.
“This syndicate has been operating for the past month. Our investigations revealed that this is just one of the call centres, meaning that we have just scratched the surface.
“Investigations and interrogations are still ongoing to find out the locations of the syndicate headquarters and the total financial losses the victims have suffered,” he said.
According to Comm Ayob Khan, the manager of the call centre was also arrested during the raids.
Police also confiscated 48 mobile phones, 12 laptops, two record books and two modems.
Comm Ayob Khan urged members of the public to use the Semak Mule mobile app and website at https://semakmule.rmp.gov.my to check if bank accounts or phone numbers have been associated with suspicious activities.
The suspects are currently under remand until Thursday (June 24) and the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.