Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cyber criminals scammed victims of RM16m in Q1

Love scams and fraudulent online purchases ranked highest among the 403 cases of cyber crimes reported within the first three months of the year, incurring losses of RM16 million.

Bukit Aman Cyber Crime and Multimedia Criminal Investigation officer ASP Mohd Syafiq Jinuin Abdullah said the frequency of cyber crime cases had increased steadily, where about 6,586 reports of such cases were lodged last year with RM34 million incurred in losses compared with 6,238 cases involving RM18 million in 2010.

He said online love scams usually involved African nationals whose love affairs with local women saw the latter being duped and losing their lifetime-savings to their paramours in extreme cases.

“A study showed that women who fall prey to the scams are single-mothers, unmarried women and women with marital problems,” he said at a Consumerism Forum entitled “Internet Fraud Victimised or Greed” held by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, here today.

On fraudulent online purchases, he said, it was commonly reported by those who bought goods via, e-lelong and websites.

He said the websites were not scams, as such websites serve as a platform for genuine traders to sell their products; however, they tend to attract fraudsters due to a lack of specific rules to curb those involved in such scams.

Mohd Shafiq Jinuin said another cyber crime method was online financial fraud where consumers were duped by prank bank or police officers asking for their bank account numbers on the pretext that they had won a contest or required a credit card settlement.

“Most victims realised they had been victimised when their money was withdrawn from their account without their consent,” he said.

Federal Territory Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Director Abu Samah Shabuddin said since January this year, his department had received 81 cases of “scratch and win” scams to the tune of RM649,025.

He said a 58-year-old retired woman lost RM123,000 last March when she made four transactions to a “scratch and win” syndicate.

Abu Samah revealed that the syndicate was active in Bandar Tasik Selatan South integrated terminal, KL Sentral Monorail, Times Square Monorail flyover and other areas in the Klang Valley.

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