KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 5,527 Macau scam cases involving RM327.9mil in losses have been recorded since 2019, says Comm Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din.
The Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director said 2,266 cases in 2019 resulted in RM121.8mil in losses, followed by 2,247 cases last year with RM172.7mil in losses.
"Between January and June this year, we recorded 814 cases so far with RM33.3mil in losses," he said in a statement on Saturday (July 24).
The Macau scam syndicates have targeted 5,535 victims since 2019, he added.
"The majority of the victims are those aged 51 and above, with 1,621 individuals (29.3%), followed by those aged between 21 and 30 (26.2%), between the ages of 31 and 40 (25.3%), those between 41 and 50 (17.8%) and those below 20 at 1.5%.
"We believe those aged 51 and above are mostly likely being targeted by scammers as they are less exposed to information on the latest cases and developments.
"They are also financially stable and have savings for their retirement. It is very unfortunate when such victims lose their life savings due to these scams," he said.
Comm Mohd Kamarudin said family members should help each other by relaying information on scams and the modus operandi of the syndicates.
"Family members, especially children with elderly parents, should ensure that their parents are aware of tactics used by scammers,” 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.
Macau scams often start with a phone call from someone pretending to be an officer from a bank, government or law enforcement 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.