KUALA LUMPUR: A cool RM10 million within six months. That’s the loot of online scammers from about 600 gullible shoppers in just Kuala Lumpur alone.
Police say this jump in cases from the same period last year coincided with the unfettered freedom for the people to celebrate religious and other festivals soon after the lifting of all Covid-19 movement restrictions.
The first six months of last year saw 494 such cases involving RM3.65 million in losses in the city, but this increased to 613 cases for the same period this year where RM10.64 million was stolen, according to Sentul police chief Beh Eng Lai.
“When there were festivities like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, the cases spiked,” he told reporters.
Beh said many of the cases involved fake advertisements on social media which baited the buyers.
“They would ask you to install certain applications to overwrite your SMS function and direct you to certain phishing websites to enter your banking details.
“And your money in the bank is gone,” he said.
Recently, police have also traced a rising number of cases linked to the TikTok platform.
“The scammers provide a link in the postings which lead the gullible social media users to them,” he said.
While police did not disclose the number of scam cases involving each social media platform, they said most of the victims reported that they had attempted to buy gadgets, especially handphones.
Of the 613 cases in Kuala Lumpur this year, 386 were women victims. In the same period last year, 381 out of the 494 cases were men.
Beh explained that due to the movement restrictions last year, there were fewer instances of online purchases of festival-related items, and many of the victims were trying to buy motor vehicle accessories and handphones.
He advised the public to be wary when it comes to online shopping, especially when the prices are too good to be true.
“You should check the price of the same item elsewhere on the Internet. If the price is ridiculously low, you should be cautious.
“Get feedback from your friends and relatives,” he said.
Online shoppers could also check with the police by visiting the “semak mule” website for more information.
JUSTCLICK & CONNECT