JOHOR BARU: A 68-year-old retiree here has lost his hard-earned savings of RM652,500 to fraudsters in a Macau Scam.
Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) chief Asst Comm Amran Md Jusin said the caller impersonated a policeman and used scare tactics during a telephone call, accusing the senior citizen of consuming prohibited substances and money laundering.
“The suspect told the victim that his bank account would be audited and investigated because of his alleged activities.
“The retiree was then instructed to transfer the money from his bank account into a personal bank account number provided by the caller to aid in the so-called investigation.
“The suspect also claimed that a court order had been issued and told the victim to cooperate,” he said in a statement on Monday (June 20).
The victim then transferred RM652,500 into the provided bank account via 22 transactions from May 11 to June 5, said ACP Amran.
Realising that he had been cheated, the retiree told his children about the incident and lodged a report at the Nusa Bestari police station on Sunday (June 19).
“Initial investigations revealed that the bank account number given was related to two other commercial crime cases.
“If the victim had performed a check before making the transfers, the incident could have been avoided,” he added.
He advised the public not to be gullible and be careful when dealing with unknown callers.
He added that they can perform checks via the Semak Mule website https://semakmule.rmp.gov.my before performing any banking transactions.
Semak Mule was introduced by the police to help members of the public identify if any bank accounts or phone numbers have been used in fraudulent activities by seeing the number of police reports made against it.
Additionally, members of the public can also contact the department’s scam response centre at 03-2610 1559 or 03-2610 1599 for more information.
The term “Macau scam” was coined as it is believed it originated from Macau or that the first victims came from there.
The scam often starts 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 tell the potential victim that they owe money or has an unpaid fine, often with a very short window to settle the payment or face “dire consequences”.
The victims will then be asked to make payments to get them off the hook.