Beware of Scammers

by | Jul 16, 2021 | Opinions | 0 comments

Photo Credit: Flickr

By Rajesh Nathan

Scammers have been preying on unsuspecting victims for ages. These people would impersonate anyone from anywhere just to earn money illegally from their victims. Most of them work in groups. Besides, scammers also utilise the internet as another way to dupe their victims. During this current lockdown, people are required to stay at home and stay safe. Thus, many would go online during their free time to visit social media websites to stay in touch with friends and family. This would also give scammers an upper hand to work. 

The internet has given scammers tremendous opportunities to work their way in scamming people online. One of the well-known scams that seemed to befall Malaysians is the Macau Scam. Scammers who initiate the Macau Scam tend to impersonate government officials. The scam would commence with a phone call from someone pretending to be an officer from a bank, government agency or even debt collector. Subsequently, the scammer will tell the victim that they owe money or ha an unpaid fine. The victim will be asked to make payment or give out personal information to save themselves from getting into trouble.  

In one case, a housewife lost around RM300,000 after receiving a phone call from an impersonator who pretended to be a government official. The victim was informed that a company has been registered under her name and it was carrying out money laundering activities. The victim was asked to download a banking app and to fill up her personal information, which she did. Later, she realised that money had been taken out of her banking accounts.

Another scam would be a Whatsapp scam where someone would get a request from a scammer impersonating a family member, friend or trusted person to share a six-digit verification code from Whatsapp. Thus, it is advised by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to the public to not share the code with anyone as it is accepted by users for verification purposes when there is an attempt to change the phone number associated with a WhatsApp account. 

Some other types of scams would be money-game schemes and the latest are online face masks scam, fraudulent sale of PPE and fake drugs. Scammers also would send links to people that link them to fake websites and trick them into keying in their personal details. Therefore, it is wise not to click on unknown links and avoid randomly sharing personal information. Social media users are also encouraged to activate the two-factor authentication to prevent outsiders from logging into their accounts by using their ID. Lastly, it is also important to not entertain anyone on the street who offers attractive prizes for a competition. These scammers would request for a sum of money upfront and you will get nothing in return. 

As such, it is important for the public to be aware of scams taking place in the country and also exercise discernment such as ignoring advertisements that are too good to be true and not revealing personal information through email even though it seems to be from the bank.

** The views expressed on this opinion is of the writer and not the publisher