Centre attends to 133 calls on scams daily

THERE were over 16,000 calls on online scams and almost RM40mil was lost within a four-month period, says Datuk Azalina Othman Said.

This makes an average of 133 calls each day to the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) over the four months.

“The National Scam Response Centre has set up a 997 hotline that is operational daily.

“Since its launch until Jan 31, the NSRC has received 16,752 calls on reports of cheating cases as well as providing advice to members of the public.

“Based on the complaints received, it was found that losses amounted to a total of RM39,299,158.25,” she said in a written reply to Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PH-Ledang).

Azalina, who is the minister in charge of law and institutional reforms, said the NSRC was set up on Oct 12 last year to provide a faster response to cybercrimes and in a more efficient manner.

Among the measures taken, she said, was carrying out checks and providing advice to callers on online scams.

She said these also included immediate steps to block and freeze the accounts used by the scammers as well as the phone numbers used for the illegal activities.

The NSRC, she added, would also coordinate with other enforcement agencies to better tackle cybercrime.

The police, she said, had since opened 751 investigation papers for cheating based on the complaints lodged with NSRC.

The investigations, she said, included 24 money laundering cases involving RM24.3mil in several accounts that were frozen.

In another written reply, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzli said the government met representatives of Twitter to address issues such as extremist content and disinformation on the social media platform.

This came following similar meetings with TikTok and Google last month to address the issue, he said.

“The government met representatives of TikTok and Meta on Jan 12 to strengthen cooperation, legal enforcement and the supervision of content.

“A similar meeting was held with Google on Jan 26,” he said, adding that the one with Twitter was scheduled for yesterday.

He was replying to Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan (PN-Tasek Gelugor) who asked about the number of TikTok and other social media accounts that had been investigated and blocked as well as what assurance would be given by the current government to uphold the principle of the freedom of expression.

Last December, Fahmi said the government was concerned over extremist content and disinformation and would meet with social media platforms on the matter.

The minister also said that personal data security and privacy would also be raised during the meetings.

In his reply, Fahmi said the Communications and Multimedia Commission investigated 444 incidents of online abuse between 2020 and January this year.

“Of the 444 cases, Facebook was the highest with 158 cases,” he said, adding that other investigations included WhatsApp (121), Twitter (36), Instagram (27) and TikTok (23).

He said the content in 197 cases was also removed by the social platforms for breaching the terms and conditions, including community standards, set by the providers based abroad.

A total of 38 cases were brought to court, of which seven are still pending while 31 saw fines totalling RM284,000. Two cases were issued with compounds of RM10,000 while 43 were given warning notices.

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