National scam helpline in overdrive

Combating fraud: Comm Ramli speaking to the media during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) has received nearly 59,000 calls since it was set up in October last year.

According to Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, 13,756 of the calls involved alleged cheating cases.

“The accumulated losses from these cases have snowballed to over RM161mil.

“Through collaboration with banks and financial agencies, the NSRC has successfully frozen RM30.54mil or roughly 19% of the losses,” he said recently.

Comm Ramli said the NSRC had begun 7,178 investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla) involving 522 accounts and frozen funds totalling RM64.75mil.

The NSRC is a joint collaboration between the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NFCC), the police, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, as well as financial institutions and the telecommunications industry.

NFCC director-general Datuk Seri Dr Sabin Samitah said the NSRC had been tracking and freezing money linked to online cheating cases, with at least RM28mil earmarked under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

“Since it started operations, the NSRC has succeeded in increasing public awareness of online scams.

ALSO READ: 15 new investment scam cases a day, on average, so far

“The fact that over 58,980 calls were made since last year shows that the public knows of the NSRC hotline 997,” he said.

Sabin said the centre had identified more than 52,000 bank accounts suspected to be used by scam syndicates.

“We have also identified and blocked 1,761 telephone lines used for scam activities.

“We have also managed to return over RM440,000 in funds to scam victims between August and October this year,” he said.

Sabin also said law enforcement agencies under the NSRC platform used provisions under Amla to handle financial fraud cases involving losses of RM100,000 and above.

ALSO READ: Average of 15 investment scams probed every day, says CCID chief

“Specifically, Section 4 (1) of Amla is used to conduct investigations, while the freezing of funds is made using provisions under Section 44 of the same Act.”

Meanwhile, Sabin said the NSRC was working with various parties to conduct awareness campaigns, including participating in the National Anti-Scam Tour 2023 organised by CyberSecurity Malaysia.

“The NSRC is also collaborating with several local universities to raise awareness of the risks of fraud through the latest methods and trends.

“In addition, the NSRC is actively involved in programmes with NGOs as well as making public service announcements on TV and radio,” he said.

ALSO READ: JB man loses nearly RM1mil in crypto scam

A recent survey conducted to gauge Malaysians’ awareness of scams found a strong possibility of high-risk behaviours among potential victims when encountering job scams.

The survey was carried out by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s (UTAR) Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre, Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies in Perlis and the Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies (Huayan).

The survey is jointly supported by Media in Arms, a collaboration comprising five mainstream media outlets – The Star, Sin Chew Daily, Sinar Harian, Astro Awani and Malaysia Nanban.

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