PORT DICKSON: The next time a friend, family member or a superior calls or sends you a message on your mobile phone asking for a loan, you may want to first verify if it is really him or her before considering.
Port Dickson OCPD Supt Aidi Sham Mohamed said 12 reports have been lodged in the district so far this year by victims who have been cheated by individuals masquerading someone they knew.
Collectively, they suffered losses totalling almost RM60,000.
Supt Aidi Sham said the suspects would use an unidentified number and then tell the intended victim they have either lost their phone or that it was no longer in working order.
"If a suspect calls, he or she can somehow mimic the voice of the victim's friend, relative or colleague.
"And if they are sending a message on WhatsApp for example, they will use the profile picture of the so-called sender to hoodwink the victim," he said in a statement.
After gaining their trust, the suspect would ask for a short-term loan and promise to return the money within a short time.
They would also say they needed the loan urgently to pay others including loan sharks.
To further convince the victims, the suspects would tell them to bank in the money directly into a third party's account.
"This is also to ensure the victims do not become suspicious upon seeing the name of a stranger when transferring or banking the money into the account," he said.
Supt Aidi said the victims only realise they have been cheated when they are unable to contact the suspect after a transaction.
And when they call the original number which belonged to the friend, colleague or relative, they would be in for a shock when told they never made such a request.
"So, it is best for you to verify if the call or message you receive from someone you know but who is using a different phone number is genuine to prevent from getting conned," he said.
The cases are being probed under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.