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Money lost to scams double to RM78mil
Published on: Thursday, September 08, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: People have been alarmingly gullible this year, losing about RM78 million up to August to a myriad of scams which they have been time and again warned about by police.State Commercial Crime Investigation Department Chief, Supt Jauteh Dikun, said though there were not as many cases the amount of money lost to such scams had nearly doubled from RM44 million two years ago.

"There are people who are still so gullible despite numerous reports and advice from the police. If we look at the statistics for the past eight months, we see that a total of 868 cases had been reported whereas it was 896 during the same period last year.

"But the total losses have increased so much even though the reports have reduced, involving Internet scams, short messaging services, the Macau scam, 4-digit scams and land scams among others," he said.

"A total of 16 people including five women involved in the 'Internet Casanova/parcel scam' have been arrested, thus far, compared to the arrest of two men and a woman last year, whereas 24 others were arrested for different offences compared to 20 in 2010," Jauteh stated.

In this resepct, he revealed that the latest case involved a 24-year-old man in Sandakan, who received a text message stating that he could claim a prize from the nearest Milimewa Superstore if he topped up RM500 on a handphone number.

"The victim realised that he was cheated when he went to a Milimewa Superstore nearby after following the instructions and found that there was no such contest," he stated.

This was the most recent contest scam used known as Peraduan Milimewa where the topped up credits are believed to be shared among other syndicate members to send false messages to its victims.

Suspects in previous cases have already been hauled in to facilitate investigations, Jauteh said, adding that most of the SMS scams involved foreigners from neighbouring countries.

"There were seven of them including a local man arrested last month but we think there is a possibility that the original syndicate has split up because there is a new group operating now," he said.

He added that there had been four reports involving about RM2,000 losses so far in the Milimewa contest scam.

Meanwhile, he also warned the public against trusting people on the Internet especially when they have money-related transactions.

"For example, when you buy something through the Internet or online, do not bank in any money unless you have seen the property or met the salesperson," Jauteh suggested.



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