I AM writing this letter for two main reasons – first, to raise awareness about online scams and encourage readers to exercise extra caution when making purchases online; and second, to express my hope for a better, functional and respectable police force that has the best interests of the people at heart.
The much-awaited durian season has arrived, and many may have seen durian advertisements online, including on Facebook. Due to the movement control order, durian sellers have taken their business online since most physical stores are closed or are subjected to shorter operating hours.
While shopping online offers convenience because transactions can be completed without customers leaving the comfort of their homes, the Internet is also a fertile ground for illegal activities, including scams.
I, unfortunately, became a victim of an online scam last Saturday. After seeing a durian sale advertisement on Facebook, I reached out to the seller to ask about the price and products. Little did I know that I was actually communicating with a scammer.
Admittedly, I had not done enough due diligence to ascertain the legitimacy of the seller. Noting that the Facebook page looked decent, I placed an order and transferred a few hundred ringgit from my bank account to the seller’s bank account. I was promised that the goods would be delivered to me the next day.
The next morning, I contacted the seller through Facebook to confirm the delivery time. When the seller did not respond despite my multiple messages, I realised something was wrong. I did a quick search on Google, and read a news article reporting a scam about a week ago involving the same seller with the same modus operandi.
I immediately called the banks to report the incident, and was told that an investigation would be conducted. The point that I wish to stress here is that scams are more rampant than we expect, and everyone should exercise extra caution when making purchases online.
After calling the banks, I immediately went to the nearest police station, hoping the officers may be of help. To my dismay, I encountered a police officer whose attitude was deplorable, to say the least. Instead of showing sympathy, she treated me rudely and condescendingly, making me feel that I was to be blamed for the incident.
She even questioned my decision to come to that police station when I should have gone to the one in my own district.
After I explained that I had decided to go to the police station nearest my house to report a crime, she curtly dismissed me, asserting that an emergency referred only to a life or death situation, and a scam was not an emergency! I was astounded! She eventually agreed to take my report.
In times of need, the dismissive and impolite attitude of the policewoman was the last thing I needed. I have always expected the police force to play a positive role in empowering the people and making us feel safe by bringing law offenders to justice. I left that police station feeling helpless and disgusted by the attitude of the policewoman.
While my letter may reek of negativity, I hope it will help remind readers to be careful when you are surfing the Internet. And if anyone of authority or from the police force is reading this, I remain hopeful that you can do better next time.