KUALA LUMPUR: Police have opened five investigation papers involving a fraudulent online voucher and rewards scheme that allegedly used famous names to lure investigators.
Police secretary Deputy Comm Datuk Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin said the total losses in the reports received came to RM508,261.09.
"Investigations found that an application was introduced a few years back and offered goods and services purchased through e-wallets.
"Our checks found that for every purchase made, users would be given savings of up to 50% as well as rewards points redeemable in the form of goods, or cash to be credited into their accounts," she said in a statement on Monday (Feb 6).
She added that users were required to deposit a certain sum before they could carry out any transactions, and initially all purchases and points redemptions went smoothly.
"Problems arose last year when users found they could not make purchases or redeem points.
"We are investigating the matter for cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code,"she said.
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According to DCP Noorsiah, the then Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry had issued a media statement about a raid on this company on Oct 25.
She said the ministry also began an investigation under Sections 4(1) and 27b of the Direct Sales and Anti-Pyramid Scheme Act 1993.
DCP Noorsiah said police would continue their investigation and work with the ministry, now the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry, to curb such activities.
It was reported on Friday (Feb 3) that over 100 people had lost an estimated RM4.6mil since 2018 after being duped into joining an application-based rewards scheme that offered 50% discounts by a company that used the names of famous people, royalty, former government officers and religious leaders to attract users.
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Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) secretary-general Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim was quoted as saying that so far, about 100 victims had lodged police reports but he believed many other victims had yet to come forward.
Apart from name-dropping, the company also offered vouchers and online rewards involving well-known merchants and petroleum companies.
According to the authorities, those who signed up were led to believe they would get subsidies and discounts with their purchases.
For example, some of them only had to pay RM45 for a full tank of petrol that would normally cost RM90.
However, in April, the company suddenly shut down the app without any reason and all its customers' vouchers disappeared.