Police say Penang lost RM20.6m this year due to over 700 cyber crime cases

Penang police chief Datuk T. Narenasagaran said the cyber criminals had carried out the offences using various modus operandi with the latest ones involving many victims through the Macau Scam, Love Scam, e-finance scams and online purchases. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang police chief Datuk T. Narenasagaran said the cyber criminals had carried out the offences using various modus operandi with the latest ones involving many victims through the Macau Scam, Love Scam, e-finance scams and online purchases. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 15 — Cyber crime in Penang is increasingly worrying with 731 cases reported from January to July this year, involving total losses of RM20.6 million.

Penang police chief Datuk T. Narenasagaran said the cyber criminals had carried out the offences using various modus operandi with the latest ones involving many victims through the Macau Scam, Love Scam, e-finance scams and online purchases.

“I find the cyber crime trend in Penang very worrying and it can be said that there have been at least three cyber crime cases reported in the state daily between January and July this year.

“The victims are of various races and rank in society, including those who are highly educated,” he said during a press conference on cyber crime cases as well as the announcement on the organising of the Fifth International Security Seminar at the Penang Police Headquarters here today.

He said during the same period, 920 individuals were arrested for commercial crime and 402 of them had been charged in court with most of them being ‘money mules’, namely those whose accounts are used by cyber crime syndicates.

According to him, investigations also found that most of the owners of these mule accounts did not know their accounts were being used by cyber crime syndicates, as their bank cards were held by illegal money lenders whom they had borrowed money from, and the card was then used by the syndicate.

Narenasagaran said statistics this year also showed a sharp increase in cyber crime over the previous two years, namely 965 cases in total throughout 2017, with losses of RM19.3 million and 1,031 cases last year (RM29.7 million in losses).

He also advised the public to be more careful with the modus operandi of cyber crime syndicates as 99.9 per cent of messages or calls requesting to transfer money to another account were false.

“Borrowers from any financial institution only receive messages urging them to repay the loan, and do not provide another bank account number where the money has to be transferred to online. Likewise, calls claiming that victims were being investigated by authorities for specific offences which could lead to their bank accounts being frozen, and hence were required to transfer money to another account (are also false), “he said.

Meanwhile, Penang Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) chairman Datuk Seri Syed Jaafar Syed Ali has called on parties to attend the Fifth International Security Seminar which will focus on the challenges and effects of cyber crime.

He said the seminar featured nine panel members who specialised in cyber crime including the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) Malaysian chapter president Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar and Internet Fraud Watchdog Ltd (IFW) chief executive Ken Gamble.

“The seminar will be held on Sept 24 and 25 at The Wembley, St. Giles Hotel here, and for registration and further inquiry, people can visit the website at www.mcpfpg.org/iss2019,” he said. — Bernama

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