Ex-headmaster loses RM35k to ‘cleaning service’


GEORGE TOWN: It was a painful experience for a retired headmaster who lost his hard-earned savings after seeking a “cleaning service” for his house on social media.

Ooi Eng Lye, 64, said his ordeal started when he contacted a person through an advertisement on Facebook on Nov 16, 2022.

“A link was sent to my handphone to pay a deposit, but my debit and credit cards were declined. At 3am the next day, I woke up to check on my debit card account and found that RM15,000 in savings was gone.

“I immediately called up the bank and requested for both debit and credit cards to be blocked, and was then informed that four transactions amounting to about RM15,000 had been made earlier, within a span of 14 minutes.

“I quickly lodged a police report on the same day and submitted the necessary report to the relevant banks,” he said during a press conference at Penang Gerakan’s headquarters in Jalan Macalister here yesterday.

Eng Lye, well aware that he had fallen victim to a scam, was further devastated when his credit card statement the following month reflected 15 more fraudulent transactions amounting to over RM40,000.

“Among them were two transactions for purchases of iPhones in Bangkok, as well as three ewallet and eight ecommerce transactions. My telco provider responded that no one-time password (OTP) was sent out during the period of transactions.

“Since I blocked my credit card earlier, how did the bank still allow such abnormal transactions to be passed without my verification or informing me?” he said.

Eng Lye said that although he had so far managed to recover about RM20,000 from refunds of the ecommerce transactions, he was disappointed that the banks have not given him a valid conclusion or settlement to the case. He also said there was no help to recover the losses despite various efforts and meetings between them and the Ombudsman for Financial Services (OFS).

“These are my precious savings and I’ve gone through a lot of stress dealing with the banks that I had entrusted to save my money.

“I hope that this case can be resolved with the help of the OFS. The fraudulent transactions were done without my knowledge and I did not perform the transactions at all. Until now, the case has not been resolved,” he said.

Penang Gerakan Youth information chief Andrew Ooi, who was present, urged the relevant banks involved to uphold their responsibility and improve the security measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.

“I hope banks will be responsible and step up to support their clients in such cases. Banks have insurance coverage for fraudulent transactions. If they have it, why not trigger the policy? If not, why not look into such a policy to cover such unauthorised transactions?” he said.

Ooi also urged banks to take charge and relook into the security system to avoid such scams from repeating.

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