SIBU: A retired teacher in Bintulu was cheated of RM199,000 in a Macau scam.
Bintulu OCPD Supt Batholomew Umpit said on Sunday (July 3) that the 63-year old woman's ordeal began on June 30 when she received a call from a courier company in Kuala Lumpur informing her that a parcel which was meant for her had been wrongly sent to a company in Pahang.
The suspect told her that the parcel which purportedly contained her identity card, ATM and credit cards had been detained by Sabah police.
"The line was then purportedly transferred to a police officer at a Sabah police station who asked her to settle the matter.
"She was told to make an appeal as her name had been reportedly blacklisted for money laundering," he said.
The victim was told to open a new bank account and to transfer all her money to it for investigation purposes.
"She registered the suspect's handphone number in her new account and also gave the card details," said Supt Batholomew.
The woman realised that she had been cheated when she was told by her bank that a total of RM199,000 from her account had been transferred to two accounts of the suspect from July 1 to 2.
Supt Batholomew advised the people not to panic should they receive such calls from strangers who claimed to be from government departments, banks, insurance companies and courier companies.
"End the call immediately and don't make any call to any number provided by the suspects. Do not also provide account details to the suspects," he said.
He said the public can also check the phone number of a suspect at Check Scammers CCID or at http://semakmule.rmp.gov.my.
Alternatively, they can call the CCID Scam Response Centre at 03-2610 1559 and 03-2610 1599 for advice concerning online scams.
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.