Swiss duped in watch scam


JOHOR BARU: A Swiss businessman flew all the way to Malaysia to lodge a police report that he had been duped of almost RM900,000 in a luxury watch scam.

Apparently, he had earlier befriended a so-called watch dealer in Kuala Lumpur who offered to sell five Patek Philippe and Rolex timepieces – both top Swiss watch brands – at prices of between US$20,000 (RM93,340) and US$60,000 (RM280,000) each.

The watch dealer claimed the watches belonged to a long-time client of hers and even showed pictures of the watches along with their warranty certificates to prove their authenticity, sources told The Star.

It has been learnt that the businessman in his 50s, managed to get a buyer in the United States who wanted to buy the watches for US$189,000 (RM882,000).

Once the deal was inked, the businessman instructed his bank to carry out several transactions via a local bank in Johor Baru, the sources said.

“Within days, the businessman got the watches and gave them to his client in the United States. However, he got a shock when the client later informed him that all the watches were found to be fake after being sent for tests,” one of the sources said.

The businessman travelled to Johor to lodge a report after the woman and her client kept giving excuses about the watches.

Police have started investigations under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.

In a separate case, three retirees who were hoping to have additional funds lost their life savings, totalling almost RM1.1mil, in three separate bogus investment schemes.

The two women and one man, who are in their 60s and 70s, were duped after joining so-called investment schemes that they saw being advertised on social media platforms.

In all the cases, the victims were given links to track their investments online. But they soon found out that it was a scam when they could not make withdrawals and had their online platform access abruptly terminated later.

The biggest loss was suffered by a woman in her 60s, who was duped of almost RM550,000 after she decided to invest in a scheme that “offered 20% returns”.

Between October and November, she invested almost RM550,000 in various accounts, sources said, adding that the woman realised she was duped when she was unable to withdraw her investments. She lodged a report in Kulai.

The other retiree, who is in her 70s, had put in RM440,000 in an online scheme offering returns of 20% per month.

“The woman also banked the money in various accounts over the past two months. She lodged a report several days ago in Masai after her supposed profits of thousands of ringgit could not be withdrawn,” a source said.

Separately, a man in his 60s lodged a report in Segamat claiming that he was scammed of RM160,000 in an online investment scheme.

The man had seen an advertisement online offering shares with a 20% profit margin.

“He invested a total of RM160,000 in various accounts. His investments also continued to grow based on his tracking of an online platform.

“However, he suspected something amiss when they asked for an additional RM350,000 to be placed into his online platform,” a source said, adding that the man was locked out of the platform when he tried to cash out his initial investments and profits.

He, too, lodged a report.

A Bukit Aman official confirmed all four cases and said investigations were underway under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.

When individuals posing as courier company agents call them and transfer the call to fictitious enforcement officers, the general public, especially senior citizens and retirees, must exercise caution, he said.

He also urged the public to use the Semak Mule mobile app or go to https://semakmule.rmp.gov.my to check if any of the bank accounts or phone numbers concerned have been associated with suspicious activities.

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