Police: Over 90,000 online fraud cases from 2017-2021, involving RM3.3bil in losses


The exponential growth of online scammers is being driven by their recruitment, which includes former victims turned scammers, resulting in millions in losses. — Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

A total of 98,607 online fraud cases involving losses totalling RM3.3bil was reported nationwide from 2017 until 2021.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) assistant director (telecommunications criminal investigation) Supt Rozeni Ismail said during that period more than 30,000 individuals were detained and from the number, 25,000 individuals were charged in court.

"Most of them were mule account holders while those who were not charged in court were placed under the Crime Prevention Act 1959 which included restricted residence for a certain period of time,” he said during a town hall discussion on the threats posed by scammers in society here.

He said most of the cases involved Macau Scam, online sales and purchases, non-existent money loans and love scams.

Commenting further, Rozeni said that one of the reasons scammers managed to deceive their victims was that they operated using telephones or social media other than recruiting victims to become mule account holders.

"This is what makes the syndicates successful when recruiting people, regardless of giving, renting or allowing them to use their (bank) accounts for financial transactions from these online criminal activities.

"If we can successfully deal with the mule account holders, we believe that the police will be able to cripple the criminal activities of the scammers," he said.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Datuk Azmi Abu Kassim said online fraud cases such as the Macau Scam, Love Scam and e-purchase in the capital had gone up even though the country was still coping with the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said a total of 4,340 cases with losses of RM665mil were recorded last year compared to 4,062 cases with a loss of RM637mil recorded in 2020.

"This shows that there are still a handful of people who are easily deceived by offers, easily persuaded and are less aware of cybercrimes, thus causing them to lose millions of dollars.

"Some of the victims claimed that they had never heard of such online scams and had never been given information related to this issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, more than 1.6 billion calls and 1,500 suspicious websites have been blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

In Ipoh, police have opened a total of 26 investigation papers in connection with the Macau Scam, involving losses estimated at RM1.3mil, for the first two months of this year.

Ipoh District Police chief ACP Yahaya Hassan said in a statement today that based on complaints received, the syndicate members used various modus operandi to trap victims, including contacting the victims and posing as bank, enforcement or court officers.

He urged the public to alway be wary and take note of the modus operandi used by the Macau Scam syndicate members. – Bernama

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