JOHOR BARU, Dec 10 — A 50-year-old housewife lost RM380,000 in a year after she was lured into a relationship with a person on Facebook who tricked her into paying the sum purportedly to secure his release from the authorities.

The victim, identified only as Mrs Lee, said her Facebook lover who claimed to be an American citizen said he had been detained by the authorities for bringing in RM800 million worth of undeclared goods.

She believed her lover was in the custody of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and needed money for his release and to return to his home country.

“But I ran out of money, the house I owned was also sold and the money was handed over to the Customs Department agent who claimed to have arrested him,” said Lee.

She said this at a press conference held at Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen Kah Eng’s service centre in Taman Maju Jaya here today.

In addition to Lee selling her home for RM230,000, she also borrowed RM100,000 from her sister.

She handed it all over to a person claiming to be a Customs officer.

Since then, over 10 payment transactions have been made to several different account numbers beginning in November 6 last year with the last transaction of RM95,000 made about four months ago.

Chen said he would try to assist Lee who was made a victim by the Love Scam syndicate.

He said a report was lodged last Friday at the Larkin police station under the Johor Baru South district.

“This is a serious matter because the (transaction) figures involved are huge.

“I also advise the community including the families of any individual to help their family members who have been duped by such syndicates,” said Chen.

On October 29 this year, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a written statement posted on the Parliament website said a total of RM410.6 million in losses, with 8,489 cases were recorded nationwide over the last year until August 2019 as a result of cyber scams.

He said that according to police statistics, during that period, 7,833 cases involving non-existent loans were reported to have recorded losses of RM 71.7 million.

This included the Macau Scam, Love Scam and non-existent loan offers.