Banks and telemarketers must innovate to avoid being mistaken for scammers, says CCID director

KUALA LUMPUR: Banks and telemarketing companies must find different ways of reaching out to customers so that they are not presumed to be scammers and end up in "lose-lose" situations, says the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director.

Comm Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said while police understand that banks and telemarketers need to do their jobs, CCID would maintain its stance of advising the public not to answer calls from unknown numbers.

"Among the more popular tactics used in scams is contacting victims directly by phone.

"This has created a stigma among the people, that any unknown calls are from scammers," he told a press conference at Bukit Aman here on Friday (April 19).

"Furthermore, we have advised the people not to entertain such calls. If we want to reduce risks, the absolute best thing is to just not answer the call."

However, he added, this had caused problems for legitimate banks and telemarketing firms trying to contact their customers, something he personally had to deal with recently.

"Just last week I received five calls from two banking institutions for verification over the phone.

"When I asked about the exact purpose of the call I was told I had to verify my identity first as it was a requirement by the bank.

"So it's a never-ending issue; I have to verify myself to them and the banks need to verify themselves to me.

"In the end no one verifies anything and both parties hang up," he said to chuckles from some reporters.

He also noted that legitimate business was still being conducted using mobile numbers, leading to more suspicion among the recipients, while some calls from landlines may be automatically flagged as potential scammers.

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