KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — Over 1.3 million Malaysians lost over RM5.9 billion to fraudulent investment schemes this year alone, police disclosed today.
Investigators have identified at least 43 such schemes operating in the country, and have taken action against 13 of these.
The 13 syndicates were responsible for up to RM2 billion in losses involving 336,000 victims, said Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Amar Singh.
He also revealed that the current figure was significantly higher than 2016, when six similar investment schemes were detected and crippled while the victims and their losses had stood at 190,000 people and RM845,00o.
“It was very worrying to see the number of victims increase drastically over the last year. The losses are in the billions of ringgit, where most of the time the victims are those who have a greed for money.
“A high number of people are duped because they are promised very high returns, some even claim to double the amount investment in just a year,” he said.
Amar explained that scammers now went to great lengths to dupe their victims, going so far as holding conferences and seminars.
“They will send invites through social media to potential investors to attend sessions with a speaker, all to give them a genuine feeling, but it is all just a big scam.
“There are too many of these groups existing now offering various high levels of dividends,” he said.
Amar added that some scammers were also experienced from running previously dismantled schemes.
He then advised those interested in investing to make sure the plan is legal and recognised by Bank Negara Malaysia.
“If it is too good to be true, just check with the authorities of their authenticity before investing your money,” he said.
Amar also expressed concern over the growing number of those falling victim to phone-spoofing scams otherwise known as Macau scams.
From 610 cases last year, he said the police already amassed 2,215 for the year to date.
“It has gone up more than three times this year, with losses around RM63 million,” he said.
Overall, Amar said his department registered a 9 per cent increase in cases this year, rising to 26,317 reported cases of commercial crimes involving losses of RM1.4 billion as of last month.