Clerk loses RM20,000 after installing fake maid services app

PETALING JAYA: A 47-year-old clerk here claims she has been cheated of over RM20,000 by scammers offering cheap part-time maid services through a mobile application.

The victim, identified as Yap, said she was browsing through Facebook and came across an advertisement offering maid services at a low price.

"When I clicked on it, I was redirected to WhatsApp where I then communicated with their admin.

"After giving him my details, he sent me a link to download their app and asked me to pay a deposit through it," she told The Star.

Yap added that she was redirected to an online banking page where she tried to transfer the money a few times.

The transactions did not go through, however.

She then logged into her bank account via her laptop and realised that RM7,500 was missing.

"I called the bank and was told that three transactions amounting to RM20,000 had been made.

"The first RM7,500 was from my savings account. Two more transactions were made from my joint accounts with my children, for RM7,500 and RM5,500.

"I realised I had been scammed and lodged a police report," she said

Previously, The Star reported on scammers preying on desperate Malaysians who are looking for maids by offering them discounts for part-time maids and cleaning services.

ALSO READ: When part-time maids are just a decoy

It was reported that upon contacting the service providers, customers would be sent a link with a request to install an Android package file (APK), a file format used by the Android operating system for the distribution and installation of mobile apps.

Installing the APK allows the syndicate to gain access to certain applications on the customer's cellphone, including SMS.

This enables the scammers to obtain transaction authorisation codes (TAC) and other information which they then use to siphon money from victims' bank accounts.

According to CF Fong, the founder of cybersecurity firm LGMS, uninstalling such apps may not stop personal data from being stolen as some applications also use back doors (methods by which unauthorised users get around security measures to gain access) installed without the victims' knowledge.

Instead, he advised victims to install an antivirus programme to scan for any suspicious apps, or reset their devices to factory settings.

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